These deep philosophical questions to ask someone are an excellent way to make you think about the meaning of life, the universe, and other profound talking points. Our collection of intellectual questions will inspire interesting philosophical debates on a range of issues.
This comprehensive list will spark conversation on science, ethics, technology, and more. Philosophy is considered to be the mother of all sciences, so prepare for an enjoyable discussion!
Theoretical questions are a brilliant way to start discussions among friends, colleagues, or even people you’ve just met.
Follow up on these good philosophical topics with further points to help you understand your friend’s views. This post is designed to stimulate discussion over a prolonged period of time.
Table of Contents
Deep Philosophical Questions To Ask
1. Is there such a thing as free will?
2. Is striving for improvement in one’s life a core component of human happiness?
3. Is capitalism the best system for modern society?
4. Must we have evidence to know the truth?
5. Is the meaning of life the same for humans and animals?
6. Should animals have the same basic rights as humans?
7. At what point does more money cease to improve one’s happiness?
8. If virtual reality programs continue to improve year after year, then at some point will they
be indistinguishable from reality?
9. Is it a positive thing when Western companies build factories in poorer nations and pay
wages much lower than those in Western countries?
10. If you could replay your life from the start, what would you change?
11. Is it always wrong to lie? If not, when should you lie?
12. For how long into the future will civilization continue?
13. Is it possible to be happy without sadness?
14. Is suffering necessary to make life worthwhile?
15. Does nature or nurture form someone’s personality?
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16. Is it better to live in ignorance or live with the burden of knowledge?
17. Would you kill five people to save one?
18. How would you define happiness in life?
19. Can humanity live in a world without religion?
20. Would what it means to be human change if we could live to 500?
21. Does life have a reason? Or is there no reason?
22. Is humanity headed in the right or wrong direction?
23. Is it better to be a big fish in a small pond or a small fish in a big pond?
24. Is it wrong to focus on great challenges such as space exploration before ending world
25. Do animals experience consciousness in the same way we do?
26. How much does language affect the way we think?
27. Can rational thought exist without language?
28. Why are people told to respect the dead?
29. Do acts of kindness frequently have a motive behind them?
30. What are thoughts and where do they come from?
31. Are all lives equal? Should you value the life of a direct family member the same as an
unknown person elsewhere on the planet?
32. Are there limits to human creativity?
33. Will people from the future look back at us in the same way we look at the people from the past?
34. Are religion and science compatible?
35. How much control does a person have over their own life?
Hard Philosophical Questions
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36. How will humanity become extinct?
37. How long will you be remembered after you die?
38. Does the pursuit of perfection matter in an imperfect world?
39. Do parallel universes exist?
40. If God is good, why is there so much evil in the world?
41. What existed before the Big Bang?
42. How do you think your future self will reflect on your current life choices?
43. How much freedom should people be allowed to have?
44. Does absolute power corrupt absolutely?
45. Is it possible for humans to understand the full workings of the universe and existence?
46. Is order or chaos inherent in nature?
47. If there was nothing before the universe was created, how did something emerge from nothing?
48. Will artificial intelligence become smarter than humans?
49. How would you rank the top 5 biggest risks to the continuity of human civilization?
50. Is torture ever justified?
51. Is more or less choice better?
52. Will time travel ever become possible?
53. Can a person be ‘educated’ without a formal education?
54. Do you think we should get involved in foreign conflicts? If so, when? If not, why not?
55. If someone jumps to their death and you could have saved them, are you complicit in their death?
56. Is it wrong for people in developed countries to have access to multiple medicines when those
in the developing world have access to few if any?
57. Do you think war or climate change is a bigger risk to humanity?
58. Should people be able to move freely around the globe without worrying about borders?
59. Should people be allowed to accumulate as much wealth as they want or should governments step in to redistribute it?
60. Is a sense of humor a consequence of consciousness or something else entirely?
Ethics and morality philosophical questions
Ethical Questions pose a variety of dilemmas that often offer conflicting resolutions. Whether we should all eat less meat or if the death penalty is ever justified, these questions will lead to some interesting discussions.
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61. Is there such a thing as absolute morality?
62. Is it ok to commit a crime, or do something bad if no one will ever find out?
63. Is it ethical to clone humans?
64. Is morality a human construct?
65. Is justice or mercy more important?
66. Can animals have a moral compass?
67. What rights does every human have? Do those rights change based on age?
68. Are the concerns of the young or the elderly more important?
69. What’s the difference between justice and revenge?
70. Can revenge ever be justified?
71. Is privacy a right?
72. Why do humans often associate beauty with morality?
73. Should we have the right to be forgotten?
74. If it was possible to bring species back from the dead, should we do it?
75. Are intentions or outcomes more important when judging whether actions are moral?
76. Do you believe in limitations on the right to free speech?
77. What is your view on euthanasia? Should it be legal?
78. If very young children are considered innocent, when do people cease to be innocent?
79. Should we terraform planets if it means that we may be destroying undiscovered microscopic alien life?
80. How much attention should an individual spend trying not to offend others?
81. What causes the most harm in the world, but is completely avoidable?
82. Is poverty in society inevitable?
83. If all humans want the same basic things, why is there so much violence and strife between people?
84. Is individualism good or bad for society?
85. Does religion cause more problems than it solves?
86. Is better to be an idealist or a realist?
87. Can a society exist without laws?
88. Is some degree of censorship necessary?
89. Do we need hierarchies to function as a society?
90. Should full access to the internet be a fundamental human right?
Unanswerable Philosophical Questions
Next: Hypothetical Questions
91. What happens after we die?
92. What would it be like to live forever?
93. Is there a sixth sense?
94. How do you know you’re free?
95. Is it possible to understand the perspective of others?
96. Is our universe a simulation?
97. Is an absolute truth possible?
98. Is the present moment all we have?
99. How do you explain sight to a blind man and sound to a deaf man?
100. What is the purpose behind what we feel and think?
101. Does the universe have any point?
102. Should you live for the present or the future?
103. Is adversity a necessary part of life?
104. Is time finite or infinite?
105. Does time really exist or is it something we perceive to be real?
106. Are freedom and death the same?
107. Is there such a thing as destiny?
108. Is it good to be happy all the time?
109. Does our soul perish as well as our bodies?
110. Is there an afterlife?
Funny philosophical questions
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111. Why are towels considered dirty when you get out of the shower clean?
112. Should a vegetarian eat animal crackers?
113. Why can’t you buy mouse-flavored cat food?
114. Is there a synonym for ‘synonym’?
115. If you save time, when do you get it back?
116. Why do we laugh when someone farts?
117. Why is it called quicksand when you sink slowly?
118. If wool shrinks when it gets wet, why don’t sheep shrink in the rain?
119. Would Lightning McQueen buy car insurance or life insurance?
120. Is the “S” or the “C” silent in the word “scent?
121. If you drop soap on the floor is the floor clean or is the soap dirty?
122. If I try to fail but succeed, which one did I do?
123. If Cinderella’s shoe fit perfectly, why did it fall off?
124. Do our pets have names for us?
125. Why is a mustache considered attractive on a man, but not on a woman?
126. At what age does a person become “elderly?”
127. Why do pizzas come in square boxes when they are round?
128. Why do they nail down the lid of a coffin?
129. When you go to a movie theatre and the seats have armrests, which one is yours and which isn’t?
130. Can you still daydream at night?
131. Why do banks have branches if money doesn’t grow on trees?
132. Why do angry drivers yell at other drivers when those drivers can’t hear them?
133. If we expect the unexpected, doesn’t the unexpected become expected?
134. Why do dogs like to stick their heads out of a moving car, but they hate it when you blow on their faces?
135. If I slap you with a dictionary, is it considered physical or verbal assault?
136. If con is the opposite of pro, is congress the opposite of progress?
137. Are you dreaming right now? How do you know?
138. If you were given a different name at birth, would you be a different person?
139. What’s the difference between a light meal and a large snack?
140. If nothing sticks to Teflon, how does Teflon stick to the pan?
Philosophical Questions for Teenagers
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141. What do you think consciousness is?
142. Do you think humans treat animals properly or need to improve?
143. Is it necessary for both evil and good to both exist in life?
144. Do you believe that children need two parents?
145. Do you believe wisdom and enlightenment are acquired through age, experience, or study?
146. How would life be different if animals were the dominant species?
147. Do you think the world would be more peaceful if children ruled it?
148. How would you describe what intuition is, and where do you think it comes from?
149. How long do you think is needed to become mature?
150. Under what circumstances, if any, do you think it’s OK to lie?
151. Do you think in the future robots will be able to experience consciousness, emotions, or morality?
152. Do you think animals could evolve to speak our language and live amongst us as equals one day?
153. Do you think animals are able to experience love?
154. Do you believe that fairies, ghosts, or spirits exist?
155. Do you think someone can be lucky?
156. If plants could talk, what do you think they’d say?
157. If Dinosaurs could be brought back to life would be in favor or not?
158. How critical is tolerance and acceptance of others’ beliefs to world peace?
159. Do you believe that time had a beginning or will have an end?
160. Do you believe people should have to pay for basic needs? This includes things such as food, water, education, and shelter.
Philosophical questions about society and government
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161. Is authoritarian government ever justified?
162. Would a government run with algorithms, A.I., and statistics be better or worse than the government we have now?
163. Are politicians the best people to legislate on our behalf?
164. Should everyone over the age of 18 in society have the right to vote?
165. How far should governments go to prevent their citizens from causing harm to themselves?
166. Would the world be a better or worse place if everyone looked the same?
167. What do you think the role of a government should be? What boundaries and limitations should there be?
168. Would a global government be a good or a bad thing?
169. Could societies exist without a way to transfer value (i.e. without money or a barter system)?
170. What will the economy of the wealthiest nations look like in 50 to 100 years?
171. Does revolution replace one bureaucracy with another?
172. If all humans want the same simple things, why is there so much violence within societies?
173. Is the cultural trend of individualism and the rejection of collectivism a positive or damaging trend?
174. Is the violent overthrow of power ever justified?
175. What are the benefits and drawbacks of diversity in society?
176. What is the most important right our government allows for?
177. Is a government in the style of the George Orwell novel, 1984 ever possible?
178. Has social media been a net positive or a net negative for our society?
179. Can a society exist without laws?
180. Is some degree of censorship necessary?
Philosophical questions about science and technology
Next: What if questions
181. Will humanity create a technology that endangers its survival?
182. Does artificial intelligence pose a threat to humanity?
183. Is it ethical to edit the genome of an unborn child?
184. At what point is a technologically enhanced human no longer a human?
185. Will humans merge with technology, or will it evolve without us?
186. Is technological progress unstoppable as long as humans exist or can it be halted?
187. Is humanity the only species in the universe to have advanced as far as we have?
188. What scientific breakthroughs do you believe would have the biggest effect on humanity?
189. Is technological advancement a net positive or a net negative?
190. Has the creation of the atomic bomb made the planet a more dangerous or peaceful place?
191. Do you believe the singularity will occur in your lifetime? If so, what time frame do you think it will happen in?
192. Is there a limit to what humans can construct through the study of science and tech?
193. Are cryptocurrencies the future of money?
194. Will human consciousness be uploaded to the internet at some point in the future?
195. Is true artificial intelligence possible with our current technology and methods of programming?
196. Does the modern age make global conspiracies more or less feasible?
197. Will personal healthcare advancements lead to longer lifespans for humanity?
198. If it’s possible to resurrect extinct animals, should we do it?
199. Are there alien lifeforms with more advanced technology than us?
200. Will technological progress continue at its current rate, or will it increase or decrease?
Looking For More Questions?
Questions that make you think – Want more questions that will have you pondering many of life’s biggest questions? This is the list for you!
Existential questions – Questions that will have you considering everything about humanity and life itself.
Unanswerable questions – Some questions are difficult to answer, so why not try these out for size and see if you can answer them?
Yes or no questions – A fun set of questions that will lead to some interesting answers.