Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Do You Have an Obligation to Join a Professional Organization?

I'm ashamed to admit that I did not renew my membership in the American Philosophical Association this year. Things are tight and it was expensive, so I let it go. I feel guilty about it; but not being on the job market, I can live without it, so it went.

Do we have a professional obligation to join our professional organization? It is not a union, so there's not the free rider concern one might have if the organization engaged in collective bargaining. At the same time, organizations like that do speak for the profession and one ought to have one's voice a part of the discussion. If folks pulled out, then it would no longer be a legitimate group whose size gives it a seat at the table in matters of public discourse.

Is there an professional obligation to join?