Saturday, February 17, 2018

What Is The Last Question?

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Environmental & Science Education
History of Science
Nature of Science
Edward Hessler

Each year, for the past twenty years, editor and publisher John Brockelman has been asking a new question and publishing the responses at The Edge.

This idea grew out of a series of conversation that Brockelman had with the late conceptual artist/philosopher James Lee Byars. Lee developed the idea into what was known asThe World Question Center. To arrive at an axiology of the world's knowledge, seek out the most complex and sophisticated minds, put them in a room together and have them ask each other the questions they are asking themselves.

The Center was launched November 26 1968. The Edge was launched in 1996.

Brockelman claims he has run out of questions and so in celebration of the 50th anniversary "of 'The World Question Center,' and for the finale to the twenty years of Edge Questions, (Brockelman has) turned it over to the Edgies: 'Ask "The Last Question," your last question for which you will be remembered.'"

To learn more about The Edge, view the launch of The World Question Center, read all past questions and responses, and read the responses to this year's question see here. There are 14 pages of responses (in large type!) from a diverse group of scientists and others.

I've not read them all but these are a few that caught my eye: Noga Arika (Historian), Sabine Hossenfelder (Theoretical Physicist), Jerry Coyne (Evolutionary Biologist), Max Tegmark (Theoretical Physicist), Steven Pinker (Cognitive Psychologist), Alison Gopnik (Cognitive Psychologist), Rebecca Goldstein (Philosopher/Novelist), Douglas Rushkoff (Media Analyst) for starters.

What a fascinating journey Brockelman launched.

It would be interesting to inquire about the stability of these last questions in a decade or so.

Can't finish without asking you to think about what your last question would be. Me, I'm kind-of, sort-of thinking about mine. I'm not likely to be remembered for it!

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