About the AAPT


The AAPT is dedicated to the advancement of the art of teaching philosophy. To this end the organization sponsors a Biennial Workshop / Conference on teaching philosophy, a Seminar and workshops on Teaching and Learning in Philosophy, the Lenssen Prize for Scholarship on the teaching of Philosophy, and other programs. AAPT membership includes access to Teaching Philosophy and other publications.

The AAPT has partnered with PLATO (Philosophy Learning and Teaching Organization), a national organization that advocates and supports introducing philosophy to pre-college students.

History of the AAPT

–Under construction, not complete

The AAPT was founded in 1976 “to promote and improve the quality of instruction in philosophy at all educational levels; to encourage research, experimentation, and investigation in the teaching of philosophy; to facilitate professional cooperation of the members; to hold public discussions and programs about the teaching of philosophy; to make available to teachers information concerning the selection, organization, and presentation of philosophical material; to sponsor the publication of desirable articles and reports; and to support and cooperate with individuals or organizations concerned with the improvement of instruction in philosophy” (Article II of the Articles of Incorporation).  In 1979, the AAPT was incorporated in Dutchess County, New York.

Founding the AAPT

In the late 1960s and early 1970s, during the Vietnam War, university students across America demanded that their university courses should be “relevant” to their lives and to the solution of urgent social problems. In this environment, as the Editor-in-Chief of Metaphilosophy, Terrell Ward Bynum had begun (in 1969) to accept articles on topics, such as “applied philosophy” and philosophical analyses of social unrest, as well as articles on the improvement of the teaching of philosophy.

By 1974, Bynum was convinced that there should be a national conference on the teaching of philosophy, not only to improve the teaching of traditional philosophy courses, but also to create new courses in applied philosophy in new environments, such as elementary schools, high schools, technical colleges, public libraries, prisons and “old folks’ homes”. He organized and headed a conference planning committee consisting of scholars and teachers from universities, colleges, technical schools, high schools, elementary schools, and a representative of the American Philosophical Association. The resulting conference was called The National Workshop-Conference on Teaching Philosophy, and it occurred on the campus of Union College in Schenectady, New York in August 1976. It lasted five days and attracted over 300 attendees from the United States, Canada and Japan.

At the closing session, the attendees asked Bynum and his committee to put together a similar conference to be held two years later. In August 1978, the Second National Workshop-Conference on Teaching Philosophy, again headed by Bynum, occurred for a second time on the Union College campus. At the closing session, attendees asked Bynum and his committee to put together a professional organization to run such a workshop-conference every two years. Bynum appointed and headed a Steering Committee to create the new organization, which was to be called the American Association of Philosophy Teachers. In 1979, with advice from the Steering Committee, Bynum wrote the constitution and articles of incorporation and filed legal papers to make AAPT as an official non-profit educational membership corporation of the State of New York. In August 1980, on the campus of the University of Toledo, the Third National Workshop-Conference on Teaching Philosophy became the first official conference of AAPT, and Bynum was selected as the first Executive Director, a position that he held for four years. He remained on the AAPT Board of Officers until 1994, serving as Vice-President in 1989 to 1990, President in 1991-1992, and Past-President in 1993-1994. Since 1980, AAPT has continued to run Workshop-Conferences in August every two years.

Past Presidents

  • 2015-2016 Andy Carpenter, Northcentral University
  • 2013-2014  David Concepción, Ball State University
  • 2010-2012  Nils Rauhut, Coastal Carolina University
  • 2009-2010  John Wager, Triton College
  • 2007-2008  Nancy Slonneger Hancock, Northern Kentucky University
  • 2005-2006  Donna Engelmann, Alverno College
  • 2003-2004  Daryl Close, Heidelberg College
  • 2001-2002  Arnold Wilson, University of Cincinnati
  • 1999-2000  Robert Timko, Mansfield University
  • 1997-1998  James Campbell, University of Toledo
  • 1995-1996  Betsy Newell Decyk, California State University-Long Beach
  • 1993-1994  H. Phillips Hamlin, University of Tennessee-Knoxville
  • 1991-1992  Terrell Ward Bynum, Southern Connecticut State University
  • 1989-1990  Rosalind Ladd, Wheaton College
  • 1987-1988  Nelson Pole, Cleveland State University
  • 1985-1986 Richard Wright, University of Toledo
  • 1983-1984 Phil Pecrino, Queensborough Community College
  • 1981-1982 Frans van der Bogert, Appalachian State University
  • 1979-1980 Terrell Ward Bynum, Sothern Connecticut State University

Past Conferences of the AAPT

  • 21st IWCTP, Saginaw Valley State University in Saginaw, MI (2016)
  • 20th IWCTP, College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University in Collegeville, MN (2014)
  • 19th IWCTP, St. Edward’s University in Austin, TX (2012)
  • 18th IWCTP, Coastal Carolina University in Conway, SC (2010)
  • 17th IWCTP, University of Guelph in Guelph, Ontario (2008)
  • 16th IWCTP, Washington & Jefferson College in Washington, PA (2006)
  • 15th IWCTP, University of Toledo in Toledo, OH  (2004)
  • 14th IWCTP, Thomas More College in Crestview Hills, KY (2002)
  • 13th IWCTP, Alverno College in Milwaukee, WI (2000)
  • 12th IWCTP, Mansfield University of Pennsylvania in Mansfield, PA (1998)
  • 11th IWCTP, Old Dominion University in Norfolk, VA (1996)
  • 10th IWCTP, Marianopolis College in Montreal, Quebec (1994)
  •  9th IWCTP, University of Vermont in Burlington, VT (1992)
  • “Teaching Philosophy in a Multicultural Environment,” San Jose State University in San Jose, CA (1991)
  • 8th IWCTP, Indiana University in Bloomington, IN (1990)
  • 7th IWCTP, Hampshire College in Amherst, MA (1988)
  • 6th IWCTP,  Culver-Stockton College in Canton, MO (1986)
  • 5th IWCTP, University of Toledo in Toledo, OH (1984)
  • 4th NWCTP,  Appalachian State University in Boone, NC (1982)
  • 3rd NWCTP,  University of Toledo in Toledo, OH (1980)
  • 2nd NWCTP, Union College in Schenectady, NY (1978)
  • First National Workshop Conference on Teaching Philosophy (NWCTP), Union College in Schenectady, NY (1976)