Three injured in 'pain' riot

August 13, 2009

Police cars raced to our campus on Monday in response to an emergency call from the convenor of this year's Annual Conference of Physicalist Philosophers.

According to witnesses, a fracas involving several dozen delegates broke out in the conference hall during a paper by Professor D.W. Grimping on the manner in which physicalism could readily dispose of the issue of qualia raised by such states as feeling pain and seeing red.

As Grimping neared his conclusion on the merits of supervenience physicalism, it seems that an organised cabal of unregistered phenomenologists rose to their feet and began to chant in unison: "phenomenal nature is not exhausted by functional role".

Delegates who moved to eject the troublemakers were met with blows from rolled-up copies of the conference abstracts and shouts of "this is what pain feels like" and "now you know what seeing red really means".

Speaking to The Poppletonian, the convener of the conference, Doctor L.G. Thinginess, expressed his regrets for the violence. "Most phenomenologists", he insisted, "are perfectly happy sitting around quietly examining their own structures of feeling. It's only a minority who seek to impose those feelings on others."

Our Corporate Director of Conference Hospitality, Janet Teesmade, confirmed that there would be an investigation into the incident and that careful consideration would be given to any future conference applications from philosophers. "Without taking sides in the present dispute, it does rather seem that these physicalists get under other people's skin by not getting under other people's skin."

Letter to the Editor

From Maureen, Departmental Secretary, Media and Cultural Studies

Dear Editor,

I trust you will forgive me using your newsletter to inform members of my department that I will be away from my desk for two weeks as from Monday 17 August.

This is not because I am ill or indisposed. It is not because I am attending a meeting elsewhere on campus. It is not because I am counselling students in the library. It is not because I am going around the department attempting to obtain answers to urgent requests for information. No, the truth is that for the next fortnight I will be away from my desk, absent from the office, not present in the department, because I will be on holiday.

I apologise for any shock this may cause to staff who have not so far managed to garner this news from my repetitive verbal reminders, my regular emails and texts, and from the aerial billboard that circled the campus during last week's Open Day.

I will be returning to my desk on Monday 31 August, when I hope to be sufficiently rested to respond politely to all your questions about where on earth I've been for the past fortnight.


In last week's notice of forthcoming cultural events in the Autumn Term, we included "An Evening with Mendelssohn". We now learn that the evening in question will not be devoted to the gifted composer of Fingal's Cave but to readings of recent speeches on higher education made by the distinguished politician Lord Mandelson. A disappointment for music lovers, but surely a bonus for all those with an interest in indeterminate but ominous policy indications.

Thought for the Week

(contributed by Jennifer Doubleday, Head of Personal Development)

Editor's note: Jennifer is currently taking a spiritual retreat on a cold island in northern Scotland where she has been required to take a vow of silence. Sorry about that.

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