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I have had 9 APA colloquium papers. You need to write them as 3000 word papers. So you need an idea or argument that can be communicated in that short length. I found them quite useful to write. You really get down to the core of the argument. It was also useful for writing papers on a new topic. But, one draw back is that it is sometimes hard to convert these APA papers into larger publications - I think I did it with 5 of them (in places like Erkenntnis, PSA, and other philosophy of science journals).
Some of those papers have attracted some attention (in terms citations) - so I think it is worth trying to get on the APA program.
Oh ... and do not try to cut a long paper down to size. That usually does not work.


3000 words is a pretty standard conference length, in my experience (>40 conference presentations). There are two ways to go about it.

One is to write to the limit, which requires first conceiving of your paper as an Analysis-ish length paper. So: narrow your problem down to its core, and focus on just making one or two strong arguments. I often approach my papers this way, with the goal of first sending them for publication at Analysis or Thought. This ensures I have a short version on hand for conferences. Often, however, I find that the case I want to make is much longer than those venues would allow, so it ends up needing expansion beyond those initial parameters. Still, by starting this way, I have a conference-ready version at hand.

The other is to cut existing papers down. Here, I disagree with APAer: it works just fine, but you need to be ruthless, and you can't think of it as just cutting things. You have to be able to identify your core problem and the most important argument or two, pare everything else away, and then go back through to ensure the paper is coherent. You have to murder your darlings, and that's tough. It's a different set of skills.


The papers accepted for colloquium talks at the APA is more formulaic than creative. Intro > argument > possible objection > rejoinder [DONE]. If your paper doesn't follow the formula, it's rejected.

There's nothing wrong with the formula, but readers should know that fact about accepted papers. Reviewers of APA papers tend to be the same people called upon year-on-year because the hierarchical structure of the APA is so institutionalized.

If potential submitters have access to the APA website, check out colloquium papers that have been posted for past divisional meetings.

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