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AAAS Science and Human Rights Coalition
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The American Philosophical Association recognizes the connections between human rights and the philosophical enterprise, from the right of philosophy researchers and other scholars to conduct their work without fear of harassment or intimidation to the human right to available, accessible, affordable scientific knowledge of quality and the benefits of scientific progress, with a particular focus on vulnerable populations.

APA and AAAS Science and Human Rights Coalition

The American Philosophical Association is a member of the AAAS Science and Human Rights Coalition, a network of scientific, engineering, and health membership organizations that recognize the role of science and scientists in the promotion and protection of human rights. The Coalition is devoted to

(1) bridge-building and coordinating: both within the scientific community—among scientific associations and across disciplines—and between the scientific and human rights communities

(2) education and capacity-building, within scientific associations and within the human rights community.

The APA’s membership of the Coalition creates multiple opportunities for leadership, engagement, and participation in efforts at the intersections of science, technology, and human rights.

  • Meetings: the Coalition meets in Washington, DC, in January and July. These meetings provide an opportunity to learn about and engage in robust discussions about contemporary themes at the intersections of human rights, science, and technology (e.g., climate change, water, big data), and to further the Coalition goals through project meetings, workshops, and leadership discussions. Meeting information, including video archives, is available here.

  • Projects: the Coalition is focused on getting work done, from building the capacity of human rights organizations to use scientific methods in their research, to developing teaching materials on human rights for STEM curricula, to bringing institutional change within member organizations. Current opportunities for involvement are presented on the Coalition website.

APA Activities and the Coalition

Among the APA’s activities as a member of the Coalition has been to co-organize a focus group on the meaning of the right to science’ for the acoustics community as part of a broader study on the meaning of this right for the scientific and engineering communities in the United States. The results of that work were presented to the United Nations and are available in this report: Defining the Right to Enjoy the Benefits of Scientific Progress and Its Applications (2013).


The representatives of the APA to the Coalition are Britt Holbrook and Douglas McLean. You are welcome to join the Coalition as an affiliated individual. To do so, please email the Coalition Secretariat.

APA Human Rights Activities

APA Committee for the Defense of the Professional Right of Philosophers

APA, “Right to Science?,” UDaily, October 2012

Human Rights References

Puglisi, G. “UNESCO, Philosophy, and Human Rights.” Diogenes 57, no. 4 (2010): 4–7.

Tasioulas, J. “Towards a Philosophy of Human Rights.” Current Legal Problems 65, no. 1 (2012): 1–30.

The American Philosophical Association
University of Delaware
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Phone: 302.831.1112 | Fax: 302.831.8690