Best Philosophical Questions

Here is a list that is bound to stimulate your brain. These are questions that you probably don’t want to ask someone you have just met unless you’ve discovered that they happen to be a deep thinker. Some of these questions have remained in debate or unanswered since the beginning of time, or is there such a thing as a “beginning of time?”

See? You’re only in the introduction, and the wheels in your head have already begun to spin! For centuries, the world’s greatest minds have contemplated questions like these, but everyone seems to have at least something to say on these subjects. Even if your brain isn’t quite like those of the philosophers of old, you can still use these philosophical questions to enjoy some contemplation and deep thinking time.

Best Philosophical Questions

This is meant to be fun. If a question makes your brain explode or if the subject seems too controversial and fighting might break out, please move on. You won’t hurt the questions’ feelings, I promise. Here are the topics that we hope will pique your interest, so dive in at the beginning, or skip to whichever one looks the most interesting to you with these links. Put your thinking caps on, and here we go!

Society and Government | Morality and Ethics | Intelligence, Consciousness, and the Human Mind | Human Nature and the Human Condition | Technology and Science | Reality and the Universe

Society and Government

  1. Is there such a thing as true freedom, or are people bound to higher, more ultimate laws?
  2. If you could change one thing in society, what would it be?
  3. Are there any such things as true leaders, or is everyone beholden to someone?
  4. Is there such a thing as a set of fundamental human rights, or is the Constitution just an arbitrary document?
  5. Is war an effective way of settling international discrepancies?
  6. Should the government be able to penalize unhealthy lifestyles?
  7. Are countries simply defined by arbitrary plots of land?
  8. Does democracy work?
  9. Should the government be allowed to torture people?
  10. Is the preservation of culture a valid reason for limiting immigration?
  11. What differentiates fair trade from free trade?
  12. Is race a social construct?
  13. Does a perfect governmental structure exist?
  14. What, if any, limitations are there on free speech? Are they societally instituted or constitutionally instituted?
  15. Do guns kill or protect?
  16. Would the world be a better place if castes, borders, nationalities, religions, and other cultural barriers ceased to exist?
  17. Is world peace achievable?
  18. Would you say that, as humans, we are blinded to the corruption, ignorance, and greed that rule over our society?
  19. Does our society allow true, unmitigated freedom when it comes to art in the modern age?
  20. If we live in a civilized world, why are there so many distinctions between the rich and the poor?
  21. Will religion ever become obsolete within our society?
  22. Is limiting immigration ethical or unethical?
  23. Are we losing our right to privacy? Are we doing it willingly or unwillingly?
  24. Would stricter laws and harsher penalties make for a better world or a worse one?
  25. Does the English language make the US feel superior to other countries?
  26. Would the world be better or worse without standardized education?
  27. Will gun restrictions lessen violent crime?
  28. If currency had no value, would the world be a better place?
  29. What is the definition of ‘poor’ versus ‘rich’ in our modern society?
  30. Is intelligence or wisdom more crucial to the process of building a better world?
  31. Is war ever truly justified?
  32. Is there ever a valid reason for making it illegal to have children?
  33. Why do we honor dead veterans but not the ones who live on the streets?
  34. Is poverty inevitable?
  35. What is the most fundamental, basic human right?

Morality and Ethics

  1. Would you kill five people to save one?
  2. Is there such a thing as absolute morality?
  3. Can we define good without the presence of evil?
  4. Is something technically “wrong” if no one is there to witness it?
  5. Is lying inherently an evil act? What makes it so?
  6. If God is “good,” why is the world full of so much “evil”?
  7. Is everyone’s life of equal value? Why?
  8. When is it okay to break someone’s trust or tell a secret that was not yours to share?
  9. Would you break the law to save someone you love?
  10. Should people have the right to end their own lives?
  11. If someone were ending their own life and you stood by and allowed them to, would you take some responsibility in their death?
  12. Which is more important, justice or mercy?
  13. What is “honor”?
  14. Do we have the right to establish a justice system? What is true justice?
  15. Do you think evil takes root in us, or is it something we all have the potential to realize from birth?
  16. Would you say beauty and morality are closely associated with one another?
  17. What’s more important: doing the right thing or doing things right?
  18. How does power change human beings?
  19. Why do we throw away food when we know people are dying of hunger?
  20. Is it worse to fail at something or to never make an attempt?
  21. Is it better to have loved and lost than to have never loved at all?
  22. Is there such a thing as a moral absolute, or is morality relative?
  23. Is it ever reasonable to call the validity of someone’s mental health issue into question?
  24. Should anyone be allowed to accumulate wealth while so many go without basic necessities?
  25. What does it mean to live a ‘good life’?
  26. Does the end ever justify a morally wrong means?
  27. Can a person be truly evil incarnate?
  28. What is pure evil?
  29. Is there a positive aspect of jealousy, and if so, what is it?
  30. Do the wealthy have an obligation to the poor?
  31. Are we truly guilty of our ignorance?
  32. Is it better to suffer for a crime you did commit or a crime you did not commit? In other words, if you’re going to suffer, would you rather it were for a crime you did commit or one you didn’t?
  33. Which is better, the absence of physical pain with the presence of sadness or the absence of sadness with the presence of physical pain?
  34. Is it easier or more difficult to believe the world is all black and white when it comes to morals and people?
  35. Is it possible to experience happiness even after you’ve caused someone else unhappiness?

Intelligence, Consciousness, and the Human Mind

  1. Do you believe our consciousnesses live on after our bodies have died?
  2. Is consciousness the same as the soul?
  3. What happens after we die?
  4. Do animals have souls?
  5. What are thoughts and where do they originate?
  6. Do you think the human soul existed before life?
  7. Does life equal self-awareness or merely electric reactions occurring inside a functioning bodily system?
  8. How can we claim to have free will when the inner-workings of our minds are simply the probabilistic orchestrations between neurons?
  9. What are dreams, and why do we have them?
  10. Is beauty subjective or objective?
  11. Is there any individual right way to view reality as it exists around us, or is the world experienced ‘correctly’ by every individual on the planet in their own unique way?
  12. Does our awareness of our consciousness have benefits?
  13. Do thoughts have a pattern?
  14. Why can’t everyone be a genius?
  15. Can dreams be associated more with our minds reliving the past or attempting to predict the future?
  16. Do ghosts and spirits of our deceased loved ones exist, or are they only mental projections?
  17. Does a person’s name influence the type of person they become?
  18. Is reincarnation the concept of one singular intelligence being transmitted through different bodies, never being born or dying, or is it a rebirth and death cycle of that one intelligence?
  19. What does it mean to be ‘educated’?
  20. Are people more likely to change their behavior because of threats or incentives?
  21. What is self-esteem, and where does it originate?
  22. Why do you think music has such a profound impact on the human psyche?
  23. How is it that, with millions of minor electrical activities and nerve transactions occurring in your brain every second, we are able to accomplish long, monotonous tasks every day?
  24. Is it possible to change human intuition, tendencies, and nature? If so, should we?
  25. Why are humans so inclined to hold onto beliefs that can’t be empirically proven to be correct?
  26. Why do our brains tend to wire their way out of the present and always look toward the past or the future?
  27. Is it better to focus on accomplishing things or developing our intuition?
  28. Who is freer, a man, or a wild animal?
  29. If you knew how and when you were going to die, would you live a better life or a more anxious one?
  30. Where is the arbitrary line between eccentricity and madness?
  31. How do we know whether or not what we perceive is what is actually real?
  32. What does it mean to be a slave to one’s own mind?
  33. What constitutes ‘mental exercise’?
  34. If you could have your genes altered, would you eliminate all genes that would leave you predisposed to ignorance and stupidity, even at the risk of losing all hope for a peaceful life?
  35. At what point does intelligence change from something beautiful to something ugly?

Human Nature and the Human Condition

  1. What is the meaning of life?
  2. Can we know what happiness is without experiencing sadness?
  3. Is it nature or nurture that plays a dominant role in the shaping of an individual’s personality?
  4. How much control do we actually have over our lives?
  5. Why are people told to respect the dead?
  6. What is love?
  7. What qualities make a person “good”?
  8. Do you believe in the Law of Attraction? What is it?
  9. Is it easier to love or to be loved?
  10. Do people need other people, really?
  11. Are emotions rational or irrational?
  12. Does war bring out the best or the worst in us?
  13. Does love have limits?
  14. How relevant is the concept of family in today’s world?
  15. What is self-esteem? Where does it come from?
  16. Is it more important to be respected or liked?
  17. Is the purpose of life to find happiness?
  18. As humans, are we obligated to better ourselves?
  19. Are people our generation less or more sensitive than people from previous generations? Why do you think that is?
  20. Do acts of kindness always have a motive, whether recognized or not?
  21. Is love simply physical desire?
  22. Does evil come from within? Does good?
  23. Can a person achieve happiness if they’ve achieved nothing else in their life?
  24. If everyone spoke their minds, would the world be a better place?
  25. Why do we strive for perfection if it’s impossible to achieve?
  26. Can your life have meaning without other people in it?
  27. Does greater intelligence breed greater discontent?
  28. Can spirituality make you a happier person, or is it just a game of ignorance?
  29. If life is so short, why are most of the things we do things that we don’t actually want to do?
  30. If it is not our place to judge others, why do we?
  31. Is humanity truly capable of achieving anything, or do we have a set limit?
  32. Are we our own worst enemies?
  33. Is religion just a byproduct of our inability to comprehend the true vastness and incomprehensibility of the universe?
  34. Do simple things become more or less complex when we try to attain perfection?
  35. If death is inevitable, why bother doing anything?

Technology and Science

  1. What is gravity, apart from some invisible “force,” and how does it work?
  2. Does the act of observation and subsequent perception distort what occurs in reality?
  3. Do numbers really exist, or are they something arbitrary that we use in an attempt to understand our surroundings?
  4. Are religion/spirituality and science compatible? Why or why not?
  5. Is artificial intelligence capable of taking over humanity?
  6. How do we know that black holes and electrons exist if we cannot see them?
  7. How would you define time travel?
  8. Have we become happier as a species in this technological age?
  9. Can artificial intelligence be creative?
  10. How is scientific thought influenced by religious thought and vice versa?
  11. As the years have passed and technology has improved, is the idea of robots taking over the world still an entirely laughable concept?
  12. Our definition of livable conditions are arbitrary, so do you think aliens could exist on a planet without the elements that we consider essential to the act of sustaining life?
  13. Do we control technology, or is technology controlling us?
  14. Is there a species more advanced than humans somewhere in the universe?
  15. At what point do technological advances do more harm than good?
  16. Does artificial intelligence have the potential to prolong human life or human consciousness in the future?
  17. How would we know whether or not animals were more intelligent than us?
  18. Have we evolved as humans, or has nature simply remained survivable to us over the millennia?
  19. If our bodies are essentially made of stardust, what is starlight made of?
  20. Will we ever be able to travel through space as easily as taking a bus?
  21. Will our continued existence on this planet depend more on our use of its resources or our advancement of technology?
  22. Will humanity last another 1,000 years?
  23. Can we change the nature of a thing by observing it?
  24. Is it possible that every living and nonliving thing on the planet has a language?
  25. Are experiments the best way to learn?
  26. Is bias ever really avoidable?
  27. What single technological advancement would, had it not been invented, have brought about a completely different present-day than the one we are experiencing now?
  28. What is the universe made of?
  29. What biologically differentiates humans from animals?
  30. Does the earth really have a finite set of resources?
  31. How is light energy?
  32. If bacteria are constantly evolving, why haven’t humans been wiped out by them yet?
  33. Is technological advancement limitless?
  34. What could be at the bottom of the ocean?
  35. What could be at the center of a black hole?

Reality and the Universe

  1. How do you know/not know that God does/doesn’t exist?
  2. What is truth, and is it reality or something else?
  3. When did time begin?
  4. How do you define what is real and what isn’t?
  5. Must we have evidence to know the truth?
  6. Do we shape our destinies, or is everything predetermined by fate or some higher power?
  7. Do you believe parallel universes/realities exist?
  8. What is more real, mind or matter?
  9. Why is it that sometimes an hour passes slowly, whereas other times it speeds by?
  10. Do you think there is a cause for every event?
  11. Is atheism a religion?
  12. Would you say death is, in a sense, a new beginning?
  13. Does belief make God exist?
  14. What is at the center of the universe?
  15. Do parallel universes exist?
  16. Are there parallel universes that correspond to every possible outcome of each choice we make, and then another set of parallel universes branching from that parallel universe based on an alternative set of choices our parallel universe selves would make? Basically, are there an infinite number of parallel universes?
  17. Is it possible that time is being altered right now?
  18. How can we be sure that there is or is not an afterlife?
  19. Is there such a thing as luck, or is every move you make predetermined by some higher power?
  20. Is it possible that what we identify as the laws of nature (i.e., gravity, wave-particle duality, etc.) are what would be considered magic in some alternate dimension?
  21. Is the cosmos conscious of itself?
  22. Could we be one of the least-developed civilizations in the universe?
  23. Is it possible that human origins lie somewhere else in the universe?
  24. Do the constellations and planets influence us?
  25. Did music come from somewhere else in the universe?
  26. Did anything or anyone exist before the beginning of what we know as existence?
  27. Does it make sense for someone’s eternity to be determined by their earthly existence?
  28. Is there such a thing as a meaningless coincidence?
  29. If languages influence our perception of color, what other perceptions might language influence?
  30. Is claiming to be superstitious just another way of saying you believe in a higher power?
  31. If gravity is such a strong force, why aren’t we all at the center of a black hole right now?
  32. Is it possible to live forever?
  33. Is the universe intentional or completely random?
  34. Can the universe really have a beginning?
  35. If the universe is in a constant state of decay (entropy), how does life persist?