In 1985, Starship famously shocked the world by purporting to prove that we built this city on rock-and-roll (for a summary of the proof, see Figure 1).
Figure 1. "We Built This City"
Although initially met with skepticism, Starship's proof has surprisingly never been refuted, that is, until now. This morning, an area philosopher, working under the online pseudonym “JeffAirplane4Evah”, published a proof demonstrating, once and for all, that we did not, in fact, build this city on rock-and-roll.
Contacted anonymously through email, the philosopher stated, "I always knew that we built this city. But I've never been convinced we built it on rock-and-roll." When asked to elaborate, the philosopher added, "It's always been a real puzzle. I mean, if we built this city on rock-and-roll, how did it escape our notice for so long?" Alas, Starship's proof has long resisted refutation. Part of the problem, philosophers say, is that the proof is notoriously torturous. "It's almost like reading Wittgenstein", philosopher P.M.S Hacker noted, "Nobody's ever really understood it...well, besides me." One important issue, in particular, has never been solved. "There's always been an interpretive dilemma with premise (9): 'Marconi played the mamba, listen to the radio, don't you rememba?", Hacker says, "Many Starship scholars have argued that it makes no sense to say that Marconi played the mamba. After all, the mamba is a giant, poisonous, African snake. Thus, many scholars have argued Starship must have meant the mambo. Yet, the mambo is hardly rock-and-roll, you know what I mean? On the other hand, if we interpret premise (9) literally...well, playing a giant, poisonous, African snake would be very rock-and-roll...but no one I've met remembers hearing that."
One early attempt to refute Starship's argument was based on experimental philosophy survey methods. "Early empirical studies showed that many of the folk just didn't share Starship's intuitions," one experimental philosopher reported. However, Timothy Williamson, Wykeham Professor at Oxford University, famously disarmed this argument with his expertise defense. "Starship has very something important that the folk lack", Williamson argues, "decades of careful experience and reflection on this city and rock-and-roll. I mean, who you gonna believe", Williamson famously declared, "the folk...or Grace Slick?"
Still, many philosophers remained uncomfortable Starship's proof. "Look, I'll give Williamson Jefferson Airplane", one anonymous philosopher stated, "I might even be willing to give him Jefferson Starship. But Starship simpliciter? You've gotta be kidding me. They may know this city...but their rock-and-roll expertise is questionable at best." Other philosophers even rushed to provide new defenses of Starship's argument. One popular approach, Rock Realism, championed by Russ Shafer-Landau, has held that this city being built on rock-and-roll is the best explanation of the face value of our ordinary-everyday rock-and-roll practices. Further, Rock Realists have brilliantly exploited the so-called companions in guilt strategy. "If we denied that this city is built on rock-and-roll," Shafer-Landau explained,"we would also have to say that we started the fire (Joel 1989), that the grass isn't green and the girls aren't pretty in Paradise City (A. Rose at al (1987)...and of course, we'd also have to Stop Believin' (Cain et. al 1981). I don't know about you," Shafer-Landau continued, "but I'm just not willing to bite those bullets."
JeffAirplane4Evah's new proof took perceived problems with Rock Realism as a springboard. "I've always been skeptical of the Rock Realist defense", JeffAirplane4Evah explained, "I mean, I've looked really hard for the rock and roll this city was built on, but I've never been able to find it. The supposed rock-and-roll truths Rock Realists assert always just seemed to be a hopelessly queer kind of fact. Not to mention there are pretty good arguments for Rock Relativism." According to JeffAirplane4Evah, these worries gave rise to concerns about persistence conditions--the foundations of the new counter-proof. Using cutting-edge metaphysics, JeffAirplane4Evah proved that if this city were built on rock and roll, then destroying rock and roll would have to destroy this city instantaneously. "But that's obviously not true", JeffAirplane4Evah noted, "You could clearly destroy all the rock and roll without destroying this city. QED." Although widespread agreement is rare in philosophy, the proof appears to already have become universally accepted, and is expected to generate a great deal of new work "relating to material constitution, supervenience, realization, and ground", one philosopher said, "though to be honest I'm pretty those are the all same thing. The metaphysicians just have to be messing with us, right?"
In any case, the future looks bright for JeffAirplane4Evah. His next endeavor? He says he's always been fascinated by N. Ranger's longstanding puzzle, "the secret of my success" (see Fig. 2). "I'm not sure what the secret is", JeffAirplane4Evah stated, "but I'm pretty sure it's not living 25 hours a day."
Happy April Fool's Day everyone!