Throughout the history of mankind, great thinkers and the common man have all pondered the same questions. Why should you be any different? Start a philosophical discussion with a friend or colleague, and see where your thoughts take you. Be prepared for an exploration of the minds.
Asking yourself some philosophical questions can be an important first step on the journey of introspection. We live in a face paced world with an abundance of external information, but what if the most important truths were buried deep in our minds waiting to be discovered? We put together this list of philosophical questions to help prompt these kind of thoughts and discussions. If you are looking for more hard hitting questions, you may also want to check out our list of hard questions.
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Without further ado...
Here is a great list of philosophical questions to get you thinking about life, the universe, and everything
1. What harsh truths do you prefer to ignore?
This is a question that can help generate an introspective mood. We all have things that we need to confront, and prompting someone with this question can be a good way to start a difficult (but necessary) conversation.
2. If you could become immortal on the condition you would NEVER be able to die or kill yourself, would you choose immortality?
Without death, life would be very different. It would be interesting to see who would make this choice, and what they would do with their newfound lifespan.
3. Is the glass half empty or half full?
You can see this question as being on the pessimistic or optimistic side of the coin, but it's always an interesting conversation starter, and sometimes a good way to demonstrate the value of learning to look at things from another perspective.
4. Why do we forget things we don't want to forget?
This is a good way to get someone to explore some of their unconscious beliefs. If someone wants to forget something, then what is it about that thing that they want to forget? What are they afraid of or uncomfortable with?
5. Can a human without hope live a full and happy life?
It's important to cultivate a good attitude toward life. If someone truly has no hope, then why even get out of bed? It's this hope that leads us to believe in the possibilities for happiness and fulfillment.
6. If a child becomes the parent, who then becomes the child?
This is a question that most people rarely stop to consider. What would the world be like if children were to suddenly have power over their parents? Is there a correlation between age and maturity?
7. How should we measure success?
This question can get philosophical very fast. What makes one person successful might not make someone else successful. Does having lots of money equal being successful? Does having great health equal success? This is a great question for sparking conversation and exploring different viewpoints.
8. Do those who love us, really love us, or do they simply love what they think we are?
Do we fall in love with someone because of what we know they are? Or do we fall in love with the person who can potentially become, and then proceed to show us glimpses of that potential? This question can be a good conversation starter about the differences between love and affection.
9. When is the best time to say "I love you?"
When is the best time to tell someone that you love them? Do we need to have proof that we love someone in order to tell them? Or is it better to tell them without warning?
10. If people are able to erase bad memories, would anyone choose to forget their entire life?
This is a fascinating question to ask because it explores the idea of what it means to be human. Why are some memories good, and others bad? What do we value about our lives, and why?
11. What is your favorite philosophical thought?
When someone gets into a philosophical mood, ask them about their favorite philosophical thought or idea. If you aren't into philosophy, then ask about their favorite quotation, and why it is their favorite.
12. What do you believe but cannot prove?
What are people most attached to? Their beliefs. When you ask someone this question, they'll have to examine their own sense of belief, and consider why they cling to certain things.
13. What are some untruths you know about yourself?
We all make decisions based on inaccurate or incomplete information. This is simply a fact of life. Asking someone to acknowledge this, and to be honest about their own errors, can be a good way to explore their sense of self.
14. If a memory from long ago is recalled with perfect clarity, is that memory less valuable than a memory recalled in detail from only yesterday?
How much do we value memories? Are some memories more valuable to us than others? Are some memories more meaningful than others? When we choose what to hold on to and what to forget, how do we determine this?
15. What do we consider moral?
It's important to ask someone what they think about morality, and how they make moral decisions.
16. Would you rather be born smart or become smart?
It's very common to hold the belief that intelligence is something you're born with. The truth, however, is that it's a skill that you can learn to develop. The question then becomes, would someone rather be born smart, or work to become smart?
17. Can people really change, or is everyone doomed to stay the same?
This question can be a good conversation starter about self-discovery, personal change, and growth.
18. What would you regret if you died tomorrow?
Wouldn't we all like to know if we were living the lives that we are proud of? What are some regrets we have, and do we have time to do what needs to be done?
19. How would you define your character?
This is a great question to ask because it helps someone get in touch with how they see themselves, and then see if their perceptions match up with reality.
20. What do you have trouble forgiving yourself for?
Everyone makes mistakes, and it's important to know what someone has trouble forgiving themselves for.
21. Who is more important to the world, you or your neighbor?
This is a very interesting question to ask because it gets to the heart of the matter about how we all see ourselves, and how we see others. Is each of us as important as everyone else, or are some people more important than others?
22. How far will you go to experience something for the first time?
The grass is always greener, and so people spend a lot of time trying to experience something for the first time. This can be about a person, or about an experience.
23. What is your purpose in life?
When someone knows their purpose in life, they're on the right track, but if they don't know, then they're likely struggling, and feeling lost.
24. Do people exist simply to live, or do they live to exist?
This is another good question about the meaning of life, and the purpose of living.
25. Can you only achieve what you set your mind to?
It's very empowering when someone can tell you how they have achieved their own success, and if you really want something, you have to set your mind to it.
26. What do you think will be more valuable in the future, relationships, or money?
What's more valuable? People or money? Some people choose to pursue money at the expense of relationships, and other choose to pursue relationships at the expense of money.
27. What is the most worthwhile conversation you've had recently?
This can be a way to promote intellectual conversation, and encourage people to talk about more significant ideas and topics.
28. What are some things that are better left unsaid?
Keeping secrets can cause resentment, or just unnecessary distress. If someone has something that they want to tell you, but don't, then they might feel this way.
29. If people never fell in love, would they ever truly be happy?
Do you believe that love is the source of happiness? Or is the search for love one of the biggest sources of human unhappiness?