Ten Philosophical Questions to Think About

It's said that philosophy awakens critical thinking. So, why not put yourself to the test with these ten philosophical questions?
Ten Philosophical Questions to Think About

Written by Valeria Sabater

Last update: 14 November, 2022

In a world dominated by the scientific, the technological, and even the robotic, it might seem that philosophy no longer has a place. However, assuming this would be a mistake. In fact, it’d be dangerous. That’s because this branch of knowledge is decisive for every generation and every individual, no matter how old they are. These ten philosophical questions will certainly make you realize the importance of philosophy. 

Philosophy develops critical and analytical thinking. It allows us to reflect on the reality that surrounds us from an ethical, open, and multidisciplinary perspective. We can all exercise philosophical minds and build our own visions of the world and be capable of giving valuable opinions without being conditioned or mediated by others.

Plato, Spinoza, Søren Kierkegaard, Epicurus, Hannah Arendt, Kant, Habermas, Simone Weil, and Slavoj Zizek. These are just some of the eminent figures in the field of philosophy who’ve taught and inspired us. They’re all examples of the need to reason, freely reflect on the complex present that surrounds us, and understand each phenomenon in our social fabric.

The following questions will help you carry out these processes.

Woman pondering the philosophical questions to think about

Ten philosophical questions to think about

It’s often said that to philosophize is to think in order to reign. Whoever dominates and delights in the art of philosophy can rise above the masses who, instead of thinking, get carried away. One aspect that defines this ancient area of knowledge is freedom, the power to go beyond dogmas, prejudices, and preconceived labels.

Philosophy is an activity that defines human intelligence. It’s inspired by free thought and the humility of the intellect. Try and make use of these two dimensions when you answer the following questions.

1. Can we understand good without evil?

Life is made up of dualisms. At least, that’s what it seems at first glance. Ethics and morals, truth and lies, beauty and ugliness, and wisdom and ignorance. However, is this applicable to goodness and evil? Is it impossible to conceive of one without the existence of the second?

Many people claim that this is so, that the ethical can’t be understood without its reverse. For example, we can’t understand what light is without first knowing what darkness is. 

2. Is it always necessary to have evidence about what’s true?

This is one of the more classic philosophical questions to think about. In fact, it’s related to empiricism, the philosophical theory that emphasizes the relevance of experience and evidence to demonstrate the reality of things. It claims that if there’s no evidence about something, it simply doesn’t exist.

What do you think about this?

3. Does life have a purpose? If so, what is it?

Why are we here? The field of anthropology has hardly any doubts in this matter. It claims, that we’re social ‘animals’ on an evolutionary journey. It proposes that we’re here because nature wanted it that way. However, religion takes a different view.

Psychology has a somewhat simpler answer. We must all find our own reasons for why we’re here, find our purpose, and make it our own.

4. Does free will really exist?

This is another recurring philosophical question. Figures like the Israeli historian, Yuval Noah Harari warn that free will is little more than a myth. What’s more, if we assume it to be so, we make all the ways in which the powers that be manipulate us invisible. What do you think about this?

5. Does democracy work as it should in all countries?

The subjects of society and politics make it easier to address philosophical thinking. Is democracy working as it should in our country? How about other countries with democracies?

6. Why do human beings need to create ‘art’?

Our ancestors left us real works of art on the walls of ancient caves. They drew hands, running animals, skillful hunters, humanoid figures, and strange symbols. Indeed, the human being has always felt the need to create, to make art a mechanism of expression and testimony.

7. Why are you who you are?

Why are you the way you are? What’s made you who you are with respect to your personality, ideals, dreams, and needs? We could mention your experiences, your genes, the context that surrounds you, and the way you interpret what happens to you.

Image symbolizing the philosophical questions to think

8. What’s the biggest problem for humanity?

This is one of the most interesting philosophical questions. Think about it. What’s our biggest problem? Evil and violence? Lies? Neglecting our planet and possibly promoting climate change?

In reality, there are infinite problems that define the human being, For example, the inability to cooperate and work together, lack of social harmony, etc.

What do you think is our biggest problem?

9. Does objectivity exist or is everything subjective?

There’s no shortage of theories and opinions that suggest that people rarely manage to be totally objective. Everything we do, think, and express is filtered by subjectivity, emotions, and personality. Therefore, it’s extremely difficult to always be objective. What do you think?

10. Are we good or bad by nature?

Throughout history, many philosophers have asked this question. Consequently, there are many different answers. For instance, Hobbes claimed that the human being is evil by nature, so in order to coexist, absolute power is needed, an authoritarian law that controls the aggressive impulse that arises from the selfish motivation of all beings.

On the other hand, Rousseau believed that, as humans, we’re basically good and empathetic because, if we see another suffering, we feel a natural inclination to help. So, what makes some humans bad?  Rousseau would say that competition, envy, and aggressiveness corrupt us.

There are also those who defend the idea that human nature doesn’t exist. They claim that people will be good or bad according to their life experiences, social and cultural influences, and the spirit of the times.

What do you think? Are we good, bad, or neither?

Hopefully, this list of philosophical questions has been an entertaining exercise for you to oxygenate your mind, reason with new perspectives, and form your own opinions.

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