Philosophy is the study of, or the attempt to understand, the root nature of reality, existence, and knowledge. Philosophical questions have no set answers. In fact, asking a philosophical question frequently leads to more (seemingly unanswerable) questions. The key to answering a philosophical question is an open mind. One must think critically, systematically, and clearly. Answering philosophical questions helps us understand ourselves and the world around us. We have included deep philosophical questions, hard to answer philosophical questions, and some that are fun and funny. Enjoy an afternoon or evening of speculation alone or with friends.
Deep Philosophical Questions
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Our list of deep philosophical questions helps one to look inside themselves and at the world around them to find a meaning for existence. Meditate on the questions before attempting an answer. Remember that these deep questions may have entirely different answers for each person pondering them. Be brave and think outside the box.
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Is there such a thing as free will?
How do you know that God exists? Doesn’t exist?
What is the meaning of life?
Is there such a thing as absolute morality?
Does nature or nurture form a person’s personality?
What is freedom? Is true freedom possible?
Can we know what happiness is without sadness?
Can we understand good without evil?
What is the truth and is it the same as reality?
Is there such a thing as truth, or is it relative?
Can a person be happy if they have never experienced sadness?
How and when did everything begin?
How do you know what is real and what isn’t?
Is there a reason for life and what is it?
What happens to a person after they die?
Do humans have a soul? Do animals have a soul?
Does what a person observe alter what actually occurs?
Must we have evidence to know the truth?
How do you know what is real?
What is gravity and how does it work?
How much control does a person have over their life?
Is it always wrong to lie? When (if ever) is it okay?
Is it okay to do something “wrong” if no one sees it or knows about it?
Do you shape your own destiny or does everything happen by fate?
Do numbers really exist or are they something man has created?
If God is “good,” why is there so much evil in the world?
When do you think the world will “end”?
When does human consciousness begin?
What are thoughts and where do they come from?
What is the soul? Does it exist before life and continue after?
Do parallel universes exist?
Why are people told to respect the dead?
What is the purpose of life?
Is everyone’s life of equal value?
Are religion and science compatible? Why or why not?
Is the most important purpose in life happiness? If not, what is?
Which is more real, mind or matter?
What is love?
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Fun Philosophical Questions
Not all philosophical questions are serious. Although our list of fun philosophical questions may take some serious contemplation, they are designed more for a light-hearted evening than a debate or disagreement. They also make good conversation starters.
People say that money cannot buy happiness, but can you ever be truly happy without any money?
If you could change just one thing in the world, what would it be?
What are the characteristics of a good friend?
Does the “Law of Attraction” exist and what is it?
Is there such a thing as true love?
Is it better to have love and lost or never to have loved at all?
Do you think computers will ever take over the world?
Which is easier – to love or be loved?
What do we call it “falling in love”?
Would you look for a husband on a dating site? Why or why not?
Do you think “wild” animals should be kept as pets? When and why?
Do people need friends? Why?
If we ban drugs, why not harmful food additives and alcohol?
How do we know electrons and black holes exist if we cannot see them?
Is it ever okay to tell a secret?
Would you break the law to save someone you love?
What do you fear most?
If you won the lottery, would you quit your job? Why or why not?
Would you rather have a job you love that pays very little, or a job you hate that pays a great deal of money?
Does time change from one day to the next and is this why some days seem to go on forever?
If you knew you were going to die tomorrow, what would you do today?
Does life exist somewhere else in the universe?
If our minds are made of particles and atoms, which both behave probabilistically, how can we think we have freewill?
Which historical figure, good or bad, do you think had the biggest impact on the world? Your country?
Is there such a thing as luck?
Which makes a better pet – a cat or a dog? Why?
Do you think there will come a time when all shopping is done online?
Which season is best – summer, winter, spring, or fall? Why?
Are clowns funny or scary?
What is the right age for getting married?
Is it more important to be a leader or a follower?
Can animals “think” and/or “reason”?
Does a person’s name determine anything about their personality?
Why aren’t houses equipped with sensing lights that turn off when nobody is in the room?
Hard Philosophical Questions
Hard philosophical questions are those that make you think, but (unlike most of the deep philosophical questions) can be answered. Many of them involve stating one’s opinion and then supporting that opinion with either facts or personal experience. Our list provides a good springboard for fascinating discussion and a way to get to know someone else on a deeper, more personal level.
Are emotions rational or irrational?
Are there universal human rights? What are they?
What rights, if any, do animals have?
Do computers have the ability to be creative?
Do wars ever solve the problems of countries and governments?
Is there a cause for every event?
Do people really have free will?
Is love different from sexual desire? Passion? How?
How much freedom should people be allowed to have?
Should governments have penalties for those who live unhealthy lifestyles?
Should the government make organ donation compulsory?
Should people be allowed to sell their organs and should organ donors be financially compensated?
Should people have the right to live and travel anywhere they wish with no state or country boundaries?
Does democracy work for every country?
Since the birthrate is down in the U.S., should people be required to have at least one child?
If someone is killing themselves and you simply watch and refuse to interfere, are you responsible for that death?
Should we limit the amount of money people can earn and save to avoid an unequal distribution of wealth?
When you are driving and see one shoe on the side of the road, what do you think happened to the other shoe?
Is a woman ever justified in getting an abortion? Why or why not?
Is torture ever justified?
Is it always good to have choices?
Which is more important, justice or mercy?
Is preservation of a country’s culture a good reason for limiting immigration?
Is there a difference between fair trade and free trade? What is it and which is of greater importance?
Is defining people according to race a social construct or a biological category?
Will it ever be possible to travel through time? Space?
Should terminally ill people be allowed or encouraged to commit suicide?
Is it ever okay to break the law? Why and when?
What are dreams and why do we have them?
Can a person be “educated” without a formal education?
Is there such a thing as honor in today’s society? How would you define honor?
How relevant is the family in today’s world?
Which is more important, to be respected or liked?
Which is better, to play a good game and lose, or cheat and play a “bad” game and win?
Is the way we compensate people for their jobs “fair,” or should we have some way of making sure people are paid appropriately? (i.e. football players and teachers)
What exactly is self esteem and where does it come from?
Funny Philosophical Questions
Sometimes all we need is a good laugh. Our funny philosophical questions stretch your mind and tickle your funny bone. There are great for parties and teen groups – anytime you are in a group and want to have fun or start a conversation.
Can vegetables feel pain when you bite into them?
Why do we call it the heart of the artichoke when it is on the bottom?
When you go to a movie theater and the seats have armrests, which one is yours and which your neighbors?
Should a vegetarian eat animal crackers?
Why is it that milk does not go bad inside a cow, but does if you leave it out of the refrigerator?
What color hair is listed on the driver’s license of a bald man?
How many times should a person use a disposable razor?
Why is there Braille on the number pads on drive-through bank machines?
Is it true that five out of four people have trouble with fractions?
Since women do not think their own facial hair is attractive, why don’t they shave off their eyebrows?
Shouldn’t a pineapple upside down cake be called a pineapple downside up cake?
Why do we call coffee without cream and sugar “black” when it is really dark brown?
If you work out every day to add an hour to your life, aren’t you using that extra hour you have added so that working out really doesn’t add any hours to your life?
Why don’t they make cheese and lunch meat slices the same size and shape as a piece of bread?
Why can’t you buy mouse flavored cat food?
Why is it that a dog hates to have you blow in its face, but loves to stick his head out of the window in the car?
Why do women open their mouths when they put on mascara?
If wool shrinks when it gets wet, why don’t sheep shrink in the rain?
Why do they nail down the lid of a coffin?
Why don’t they have seat belts on buses, when they do on airplanes?
Why do you have a flotation device under your seat and not a parachute on an airplane?
Why don’t we have a name for the top of our foot and the backs of our hands? Would the opposite of sole be pole and the opposite of palm be salm?
Why do round pizzas come in square boxes?
At what age does a person become “elderly?”
Do our pets have names for us?
How can you know what a room of mirrors looks like when nobody is in it?
What is the difference between a curtain and a drape?
Why is a mustache considered attractive on a man, but not on a woman?
Where and how would you hide an elephant if someone gave one to you but you could not let anyone know you had it?
Why do we consider babies healthy if they are plump, but women who have the same body composition are considered fat?
Is there a difference between a sucker and a lollipop? If so, what is it?
There are many different kinds of philosophical questions. Some have existed as long as man has had the ability to reason. Others reflect the time in which we live. Whether a philosophical question is deep, hard, fun, or funny, they all require the ability to think and reason, and they build our capacity for doing so. Use our lists for parties and dates; as icebreakers and conversation starters; and as a fun way to get to know others better. If you really want a challenge, come up with a few original philosophical questions of your own. Ask away and have fun!
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