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The American Philosophical Association is the main professional organization for philosophers in the United States. Founded in 1900, its mission is to promote the exchange of ideas among philosophers, to encourage creative and scholarly activity in philosophy, to facilitate the professional work and teaching of philosophers, and to represent philosophy as a discipline.

The Association has three divisions - Pacific, Central and Eastern. Each division organises a large annual conference. The biggest of these is the Eastern Division Meeting, which usually attracts around 2,000 philosophers and takes place in a different east coast city each December. The Eastern Division Meeting is also the USA's largest recruitment event for philosophy jobs, with numerous universities sending teams to interview candidates for academic posts. By tradition, the two evening receptions -- the first of which features free beer and wine -- are referred to as 'smokers' -- a carry over from the days where everyone would be smoking. These events serve the dual purpose of informally continuing interviews and catching up with friends from across the country.

The Presidency of a Division of the American Philosophical Association is considered to be a professional honor. Recent presidents of the Eastern Division include Edward S. Casey, Daniel Dennett, Virginia Held, John Cooper, T.M. Scanlon, Alexander Nehamas, Ernest Sosa, Jerry Fodor, Seyla Benhabib, Kwame Anthony Appiah, Christine Korsgaard, and Robert Nozick. Recent presidents of the Central Division include Ted Cohen, Eleonore Stump, Karl Ameriks, Stephen Darwall, Marcia Baron, Allan Gibbard, Alvin Plantinga and Lawrence Sklar. Recent presidents of the Pacific Division include Calvin Normore, Jeffrie Murphy, Hubert Dreyfus, Richard Wollheim, and Paul Churchland.

The American Philosophical Association awards several prizes.[1]. A prominent example is the American Philosophical Association Book Prize (formerly known as the Matchette Prize), one of the oldest prizes in philosophy. It is awarded biannually to the best book published in the field over a two-year period by a scholar 40 or younger at the time of publication. It has been won by such figures as David Kellogg Lewis,[2] Lawrence Sklar,[3] Bas van Fraassen, Michael Friedman, Loran Lomasky, Paul Guyer, John Cooper, Ted Sider, and Michael Smith[4]. Another of the most distinguished prizes is the Royce Lectures in the philosophy of mind, awarded to a distinguished philosopher every four years. They have been delivered by Robert Stalnaker, Jerry Fodor, Hilary Putnam, Sydney Shoemaker, Saul Kripke, and Elizabeth Anscombe.[5] Another such prize is the "Rockefeller Prize". The Rockefeller Prize ($1000) is awarded every two years for the best unpublished article length work in philosophy by a non-academically affiliated philosopher. The winner's work will be published in The Journal of Value Inquiry at the behest of the winner and the journal. [6]

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