Philosophy questions are fuels our human curiosity. Questions about our origin and life purpose have plagued philosophers for years.
Asking them helps to fuel your desire to learn about yourself, humanity, and the universe.
Luckily, I'm the expert they come to for knowledge about the deeper topics to use in conversation. I've written many posts that can help you out. I wrote a helpful guide on how to have an enlightened mind that makes you happy and have a few deep personal questions to ask you can use.
Let's get started!
30 Best Philosophical Questions
1. Do people have free will?
Why It's a Great Question: People will usually feel one way or the other about this topic.
Who to Ask It To: Philosophical questions are perfect for activating your partner's critical thinking.
2. Is beauty objective or subjective?
Why It's a Great Question: This is a fundamental question that tells us a person's philosophy about beauty. Find out if your friend has the same belief as you.
Who to Ask It To: Curious minds will enjoy big questions like this. Discover each other's opinions to know how your friend views beauty.
3. Is nature moving towards dissolution, or integration?
Why It's a Great Question: When you discuss deep philosophical questions, you test the human mind. It also activates deep thinking. When you talk about nature, you not only talk about the trees or animals around you. You also delve into the meaning of development. Is technology a foe or friend or nature? That's what we're really asking here.
Who to Ask It To: If you have friends who are into the environment, they'd love to discuss this one. They'll have a lot of prior knowledge they can share to you.
4. What Gives Life Its Meaning?
Why It's a Great Question: To answer this thought-provoking question, you have to decide if life has meaning. Are we here because we're meant to be here? Or is it mere chance? Discuss it and find out if your friend can reason out the meaning of human existence.
Who to Ask It To: I would imagine asking real philosophers would be a good idea. Your curious friends could be great conversation partners too.
5. What gives life its meaning? Is it time? Is it the condition and fulfillment of your soul? Is it death?
Why It's a Great Question: No matter what you think gives a good life its meaning, you’re defining all life in the universe by it. Is all life equal by your scale? You can use this question to discover your friend's views on the value of life.
Who to Ask It To: Young minds can always give a fresh perspective involving philosophical problems and topics. Their innocence might show you a new angle to viewing life and its meaning.
6. What Are the Universal Human Rights?
Why It's a Great Question: What this question is asking is, what does every human in the world deserve?
It’s a complicated philosophical question and has many follow-up questions. But, it’s an interesting exercise to try to make a list of what every human has a right to.
Who to Ask It To: Every person has an opinion about human life and what we deserve in the world we live in. Discussing this with your partner helps you learn their ideas about human rights. You will understand why they act the way they do. You'll also discover if they have principles about what should and should not happen.
7. What is a fair society?
Why It's a Great Question: The problem is that people define ‘fair’ in a different way when they describe a fair society. And different people value equality and justice at different levels. So, what society would you live in? Do you value equality and want to protect every human’s rights?
Or do you believe that justice is the only human right that matters? Use this one to talk about morality and what it means to be a good person. Is justice more important than protecting one person? Find out with this question.
Who to Ask It To: If there's someone in your life who's a leader, they'd have much to contribute to this discussion. The reality is, there's no right answer to what "fair" means. If your friend is a good leader, they'd know that it's always difficult to find the right balance. Being fair to subordinates without stripping their dignity is a challenging task.
8. Why Do We Create Art?
Why It's a Great Question: This is a great thought-provoking question. Art in any form is something that almost all humans enjoy. But even though art has existed for thousands of years, our ancestors certainly weren’t artists to survive... they were hunters, gatherers, fishers, etc.
It's a lengthy topic to discuss, but it's one that will tell you a lot about their appreciation for art.
Who to Ask It To: Aristotle thought that happiness was the purpose of life. He thought that art (both enjoying and creating it) was an attempt to reach that goal. Since he's no longer around, you can ask this question to your friends and peers. You will get a vibrant and dynamic discussion out of this.
9. Does Time Have a Beginning or an End?
Why It's a Great Question: This is a question that makes you think. Use this to talk about the concept and value of time with your friends. They will have many points of view, and it will make an interesting conversation.
Who to Ask It To: You can always ask a friend with an old soul. They could share their story about how they like classic things that never go out of style. When you look at it this way, it gives a new perspective on time. Does it matter if an item is old to consider it a good piece?
10. Can People Change?
Why It's a Great Question: People change in obvious ways, like when their bodies grow bigger. Yet, there's also an aspect where people mature and develop wide ideas.
Do you have a set personality that determines your choices? Or is it human nature to change according to the circumstances? This question allows you to consider your freedom and fate.
Who to Ask It To: Do you have a friend who's set in their ways? If you're curious about why they live the way they do, you can talk about this concept with them. Changing is scary to most people, so it's good to know the many different ways people can deal with it.
11. Is Our Universe ‘Real’?
Why It's a Great Question: Some scientists argued that civilization could create a simulation. Said simulation is so advanced that the simulated ‘life’ inside it could gain consciousness. And that this has actually already happened (and we’re inside the simulation… like in The Matrix).
If our simulation is like reality in every way, isn’t this another reality? Use this question to talk about the profound thoughts of your friends. Let them share opinions about the universe and theories about its existence.
Who to Ask It To: Talking about the universe and theories about its existence is a great activity that you can do. You will discover your friends' views and unique perspectives about the world.
12. Is There Only One Universe?
Why It's a Great Question: So, we’ve discussed the possibility of different realities above. But what about different universes? Are they the same thing? Talking about this will give you a good reason to ask about your friends' beliefs.
Who to Ask It To: Do you have friends who like exploring the many theories about the universe? They'd be perfect conversation partners for this particular topic.
13. Do the Needs of the Many Outweigh the Needs of the Few?
Why It's a Great Question: If you've ever heard of the Trolley Problem, this is the perfect question to ask. Are decisions only right because of the positive outcome (saving five people)? Or should we take into account how we get to the outcome (murdering one person)?
Consider these ideas when you discuss the possible answers to this question. Offer some insight and let your conversation partner share their thoughts about morality.
Who to Ask It To: You can ask your crush this question to find out their opinions about good and evil. From here, you can gauge if you're still interested in them after they share their ideas.
14. Do Animals Have Souls?
Why It's a Great Question: For this one, we assume the ‘soul’ is the spiritual part of a person that continues after death. There's no other way to say ‘mind’ or ‘consciousness.’ That's because most would agree that animals have those things. Talking about this will determine if that kind of soul is reserved for humans.
Certain animals (especially pets) seem to have feelings. We even think they feel love toward humans and even other animals. With this question, you will discover if your friend or significant other values animal life like they do human life.
Who to Ask It To: If your significant other loves their pets, you already know what the answer's going to be. You can also ask your friends about this to find out what they think about animals having souls. You're going to hear opposing answers, but that's what's going to make the talk more interesting.
15. Does Free Will Exist?
Why It's a Great Question: The idea of free will isn’t that simple. It’s not only your ability to make everyday choices. It’s asking whether your actions are set by a chain of events influencing your current state.
If that kind of cause and effect influences your every moment and decision, then do you have free will? Your friend's varying ideas about free will and fate will arise from this question. It will let you talk more about a higher power or the power of the universe at work.
Who to Ask It To: Some people may be skeptical about the presence of free will. You can open this topic when they're in the room to gain more insight into their perspective.
16. How do you explain consciousness?
Why It's a Great Question: Consciousness is confusing for scientists because it doesn’t fit into scientific explanations. It’s difficult to test theories on consciousness. Since science is objective, and everyone’s consciousness is subjective, those ideas conflict.
Since everything has consciousness, it is as fundamental as time, space, and mass. That's why this is a great topic to talk about. You get to discover your friends' opinions on human consciousness. It also opens up many follow-up topics, like science and theories of our existence.
Who to Ask It To: Do you have friends who have strong ideas about consciousness? Do they believe the mystery of the human mind goes beyond scientific explanations? You'd have a great time discussing this question with them.
17. Why do we dream?
Why It's a Great Question: Almost every person dreams. The ancient cultures of the world almost all believed that dreams came from the gods. As humans, we assume dreams mean something deeper. Use this question to open up the topic of dreaming.
Your friend or significant other will have many ideas about the reason for dreams. They might even know a few theories about it. You're in for a great conversation.
Who to Ask It To: Before you tell your crush "sweet dreams," you could ask if she knows any theories about dreams. She might not even believe in them. It would be best to know now.
18. What, Exactly, Makes You… You?
Why It's a Great Question: You must have an idea of what you define as your identity or what makes you you. Did you create your personality? If it’s genetic coding, your parents did. And if it’s your environment, everything in your life did.
Use this question to find out if either nature or nurture determines a person's identity. There, you'll know if they identify with those who raised them or their surroundings.
Who to Ask It To: Knowing your soulmate's family or environment growing up would tell you how to treat them. Use this question to discuss childhood and growing up with your partner.
19. What is truth?
Why It's a Great Question: Truth is being aligned with facts or reality. We all know that. But what I'm asking here is, "What is true?" How can we tell? And who decides what is true?
Can some things in the universe be true, no matter who considers them? Ask this one to discover your friend's views on the truth. They might offer unique insights that you can learn a lot from.
Who to Ask It To: Do you have a friend who's truthful? You can talk to them about what motivates them to be honest all the time. You can also speak to a person you respect. They must have traits that you admire about them. If honesty's one of them, you'll learn a lot about why they think it's important to be truthful.
20. What is beauty?
Why It's a Great Question: Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Or is it? Is beauty subjective (in the eye of the beholder) or objective (universal and timeless)? Use this to know if your significant other values beauty and physical appearance.
Who to Ask It To: Now more than ever, we worry about how we look and how we present ourselves in real life and on social media. People will often only respect people who look good or presentable. If you have a friend who doesn't focus on looks, you will get an insightful conversation about this.
21. Are We Obligated to Help Others?
Why It's a Great Question: There are some beliefs that people can choose that tell them how to treat human rights. The Golden Rule states that you should do for others exactly the things that you’d want them to do for you. That attitude of giving will benefit our society.
So what do you believe about our responsibility to help others? Use this question to discover your friend's views on what we owe to each other. Are we, indeed, our brother's keepers? This question challenges us to be better individuals. If your friend believes we are responsible for each other, you know they're a commendable character.
Who to Ask It To: Once in your life, you'd find a friend who loves to be there for other people. They put their neighbors first. If you discuss this topic with them, you're going to discover why they do this. They can share insights on what it feels like to live life while putting others first.
22. Why Do We Experience Emotion?
Why It's a Great Question: Emotions exist for almost all humans… but why do we have them? Is it an evolutionary benefit? You can say that emotions like fear kept our ancestors alive, and emotions like joy made them want to mate.
But emotions can hurt us as much as they can help us. Find out if your partner thinks emotions are strengths we need to get by. Or, they think feelings are what makes us weak and vulnerable. This will be the start of a long and memorable conversation.
Who to Ask It To: Your partner would be the best person to discuss this with. Find out if they value the power of emotions. From there, you'll know how to approach them when they're upset.
23. What Is Love?
Why It's a Great Question: Love was one of the most debated topics among ancient philosophers. Even with science explaining love, it remains a question without an exact answer. But what do you think about love? Since everyone loves to talk about love, you're going to get a vibrant conversation out of this one.
Who to Ask It To: Your crush would be the perfect person to discuss this with. You should know their ideas about love and if they coincide with yours. Before you go the distance, it's good to know if your views are similar.
24. If the only thing I know is that I know nothing, do I know something?
Why It's a Great Question: It's actually a crazy question to ask. But sometimes, asking nonsensical questions opens up your mind. It lets you discover new aspects of your personality. This question also tests your reasoning. When you know you lack knowledge, does that make you smart or simple? You get to talk about your limitations and what you can do to curb them.
Who to Ask It To: Smart friends would be great contributors to this conversation. When you can admit that you have weaknesses, it makes you the bigger person. You'd have a great time discussing this with your intelligent pals.
25. Is the answer to this question no?
Why It's a Great Question: Does it make sense? It might not. But, if you want to start a conversation, this one could actually work. I tried asking this to a girl in a bar once. She laughed at how useless the question was and that it led to her asking my name.
Who to Ask It To: Use this to start funny conversations with people you're interested in. You may see someone pretty in a coffee shop. Or, you might run into a colleague from school that you've always wanted to talk with. You can use this when you approach them.
26. If I go back in time and kill my grandfather before he conceives my father, I have prevented my own conception. So can I not go back at all?
Why It's a Great Question: I do believe you can do this only once. Time travel paradoxes are always fun if your idea of fun is making your brain sad. Nonetheless, it's still a fun thing to think about. You can talk about this and discover if your conversation partner has any regrets in life. They would choose not to exist if they had a lot of them.
Who to Ask It To: Life isn't perfect. We all have friends who have sad backstories that we can't fix. We can only listen and be there for them if they have trouble going through life. You can ask them this question to discover what they'd do if things were different. It lets you understand them a little better.
27. If I were omnipotent, could I create a rock so heavy I couldn't lift it?
Why It's a Great Question: It will challenge you to think about being all-powerful. Open up this question to find out if your friends have other ideas about omnipotence. It will raise a lot of follow-up questions. Would you ever create something that would be out of your abilities? Is it even possible? Use these to open up a long and vibrant discussion about strengths and weaknesses.
Who to Ask It To: As humans, we always experience limitations. We don't always have the power to change things when we want to. If your friend is stuck in an uncontrollable situation, you could talk to them and say this question. It will serve as an outlet for them to air out their concerns. Listen to them and find out how you can improve their situation.
28. If every cell in my body gets replaced over 7 years, will I still be me in 7 years time?
Why It's a Great Question: Do the parts in your body make you who you are? This question challenges us to look beyond the anatomy of a person. It allows us to consider that we're more than the sum of our parts.
Who to Ask It To: Since David Hume isn't here to discuss this with us, you can talk about this with engineers or mechanics. They'd have a lot to say about parts of a whole.
29. If no one observes an event, did it happen?
Why It's a Great Question: If no one saw you help a beggar, did the food you gave not nourish them for another day? Use this question to test a person's critical reasoning. It will lead to a conversation about what we deem to be real or not.
Who to Ask It To: You would enjoy discussing this with a person who likes to help others. They don't mind if they don't get credit for the good deeds they do. They want to help and improve another person's life.
30. Do villains consider themselves to be heroes?
Why It's a Great Question: Because villains are narcissists, they most likely consider themselves to be almighty. Yet, heroes are more concerned about the deeds they do rather than the power they have. Use this to challenge your friend's thinking about good and evil. You're going to enjoy the talk, for sure.
Who to Ask It To: Superhero movies always have good and bad guys. If you've got a friend who's into Marvel and DC, they're going to love talking about this with you. You'd also learn a lot about their ideas on what makes villains so compelling.
Ultimate List of Philosophical Questions
Abstract Philosophical Questions
Deep thinking is a skill that not all people have. Channeling your inner Aristotle can be challenging, but fulfilling. When you analyze things you don't think about, you get to exercise your mind. You can also explore new possibilities without even knowing. Use these abstract philosophical questions to give your brain the workout it deserves.
- What is the meaning of a good life?
- Is it of greater significance to command respect or to be well-liked?
- Have we become less happy in this age of technology?
- Are humans obligated to better themselves and will that make them happier?
- Is having a big ego a negative trait or a positive trait?
- Is the most important purpose in life to find happiness?
- Does life need a purpose and a goal?
- What is happiness?
- Is it easier to love or to receive love?
- Do acts of kindness have a motive?
Deep Philosophical Questions
- What’s more important: doing the right thing or doing things right?
- Do we love ourselves more in the virtual world and less in the real world?
- Is humanity doomed to head in a destructive direction?
- Should full access to the internet be a fundamental right?
- Is peace the only way to stop war?
- Can you erase memories?
- Do guns protect people or kill people?
- Will racism stop existing?
- Why is beauty associated with morality?
- Why do we respect the dead more than the living.
Unanswerable Philosophical Questions
No question is unanswerable. You can always find a way to contribute your ideas to any topic you come across. These questions will allow you to challenge your mind and take on new topics to think about. It's going to widen your horizons and make you smarter!
- Are we a creation?
- Does life have intrinsic value?
- What can we do today to improve life tomorrow?
- Does power change us for better or worse?
- Will singularity give life new meaning?
- Can practical thinking or logical thinking make life better?
- If everybody does what they love doing, would life be different?
- When do we realize we are running away from reality?
- Is life meant for yourself or for others?
Philosophical Questions Infographic
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Downloadable and Printable List of Deep Philosophical Questions
Here is a downloadable and printable list of deep philosophical questions (right click the image and select Save Image As...):
Frequently Asked Questions
How does philosophy impact life in a positive way?
Philosophical questions allow us to expand our understanding of the world. When you are open to new ideas, it makes you more empathetic to the experiences and ideas of other people. It makes you a better person altogether.
How do you ask a good philosophical question?
Good philosophical questions are best when you're in a comfortable stage of conversation. They don't work when you're still in the casual area. Make sure the person you're talking to is open to answering questions like these too. Some might think they're nonsensical stuff to discuss. See if your conversation partner is down to talk about ethics, morality, and existence.
What is the purpose of philosophical questions?
They challenge us to think beyond what already is. When you can explore new possibilities, you're going to learn more about why people are the way they are. You also learn theories about how people approach different situations. You discover how their backgrounds contributed to their decision-making skills.
Why are philosophical questions important?
They're important because we should learn to think beyond the things we see. Philosophical concepts also allow us to be more open to other unfamiliar perspectives. They make us more empathetic to other people.
Can philosophical questions have practical implications?
They can, and they do. You can use the theories you learned to make decisions in the situations you encounter. They'll help you weigh different options and consider other alternatives.
More Philosophical Questions
Philosophy is a fascinating study that is both deep and broad. After all, some of the greatest minds in history dedicated their lives to it. If you liked these questions and want more like them, find a related post below:
- To take the conversation even deeper, look toward existential questions. And prepare for an in-depth conversation.
- Before you break out the deep philosophy, you could start with something light. You may want to introduce yourself with some get-to-know-you questions.
- Looking for a more general list of questions? We have questions to ask a guy as well as questions to ask a girl to get you started.