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80 Thought Provoking Questions From Philosophical to Existential

Are you tired of stale small talk? Take conversations to the next level by asking thought provoking questions to inspire, fascinate, and entertain. We offer 80 such conversation-starters below to elevate your conversations.

Thought Provoking Questions

Simple small talk can get boring. When you’re beginning to get to know a person better, the desire to have deeper conversations grows. And if you’re trying to get closer to someone, then having deep conversations is even more important.

As always you need to consider the time and place when you’re asking questions. Stargazing with someone late at night? Perfect time to ask thought provoking questions!

However, if you just met someone they could be thrown by your desire to get introspective and weird at the drop of a hat. So, keep it more mild than wild.

Eventually though, you’ll not only want to ask someone thought provoking questions, you’ll need to. Whether for a date, a job interview, or if you’re just wanting to have a deep conversation with friends, follow this list for some of the most existential, comedic, and bizarre thought provoking questions.

20 Thought Provoking Questions that Make You Think

1. How Do You Perceive Time?

People view time differently. In fact, there’s two distinct ways in which people perceive time, ego-moving and time-moving. Ego-moving means a person views themselves moving forward in time, while time-moving means a person views themselves as stationary with time moving towards them.

2. Do You Have a Voice Inside Your Head?

If you have an internal monologue it may be difficult to imagine someone not having one. And vice versa for those who lack an internal monologue.

3. Considering the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence, Do Robots Deserve Rights in Society?

The farther we advance as society, the way we view ethical treatment of the machines we create will come into question. If we go as far as to create machines that operate in a way similar to man, what rights do they deserve? What does it say about our society if we do or don’t give these machines the same respect we give animals, or other people?

4. Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Ask how they would fare if life on earth catastrophically changed, and A.I. became more common than native fauna. How would they get by in a dystopian, sci-fi, existence?

5. If a Trolley Was About to Hit a Large Group of People, and You Could Divert the Trolley’s Course to Hit Only One Person, Would You?

You’ve likely come across the trolley problem before. It’s gone from being a thought experiment to a meme, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t still pack a philosophical punch to the cranium.

6. How Do You Think Evolution Will Impact Humans in the Future?

What will be the first shift? Will it be that we evolve to no longer have vestigial organs? What will we get in their place? Bigger lungs, heart, or will we just lack wisdom(teeth)?

Questions that Make You Think

7. Is Honesty Always the Best Policy?

We’ve heard it since we were young, “honesty is the best policy.” But how much weight does it carry? Are all lies bad, or is it necessary to tell a little white lie here and there?

8. Does Your Zodiac Sign Have Any Real Influence in Your Life?

Some people put a lot of stake in astrology, but does your zodiac have any real meaning? Could the knowledge of your zodiac sign traits subconsciously influence your behavior?

9. What Is a Cause You’ll Always Passionately Support?

You can learn a lot about a person when you ask them what causes they support. And if you’re wanting them to talk about themselves then asking them about their passions is the way to go. So, this is a double hitter.

10. Would You Rather Have More Time for Yourself or Have More Money?

If time equals money does it matter which you have more of?

11. Would You Choose Fame at the Cost of Losing Those You Loved Along the Way?

It’s always the rich and famous saying it’s lonely at the top. What would you risk along your path to fame and glory? Would your family and friends be a sacrifice you’re willing to make?

12. If You Start a New Project or Hobby and Aren’t Excelling at It, How Long Until You Give It Up?

If you try your best and you don’t succeed, do you just give up? It’s rare to pick up a new hobby and be perfect at it on the first try. Why are we so quick to beat ourselves up over being beginners?

13. Imagine You Accidentally Discover an Ancient Artifact. Would You Keep It for Yourself or Contact Local Historians?

Does everything from the past have historical significance? Is it unethical to keep a historical artifact for your own collection or should you turn it into a museum or historical society? Why can’t history belong to the people in a physical sense?

14. Can There Be Any Ethical Means of Consumption Under Capitalism?

You can try your hardest to do good things, be the change, reduce, reuse, and recycle, but does it really make a difference? Is trying to live ethically impossible under capitalism? Should you suffer because large corporations don’t abide by the same moral code we as regular people do?

Macbook displaying a wall of code in a dark room

15. How Much Would Your Life Change If the Internet Went Down Indefinitely?

Society is several generations deep into the internet. There are few places in the world the internet hasn’t reached. Would life be better or worse without it? How much would things change?

16. Is Ignorance Truly Bliss?

It’s an old adage, but how does it hold up in day to day life? Can we be unhappy if we remain ignorant of life’s truths?

17. How Often Do You Stop to Smell the Roses?

Expressing appreciation and gratitude is an important act. Taking the time to appreciate the simple things in life, such as roses, can help promote positive thoughts.

18. Is War Ever Ethical?

If you start a war to stop an evil dictator and take hundreds of thousands of lives in the process, does that make the loss okay? At what point is war not the answer? Is it ever the answer, or just the only option?

19. How Do You Avoid Losing Sight of Your Personal Goals and Identity?

Maintaining a sense of identity is important, but throughout life we might lose sight of ourselves. Whether in a relationship, due to a job, or by trying to impress someone, we stand the chance of losing sight of who we really are.

20. Do You Need a Reason to Be Kind?

Is it actually kindness if there’s a reason behind it? Does kindness require selflessness?

Want More Philosophical Questions?

If you’re looking for a more detailed breakdown of thought provoking questions, then look no further. Whether you want to deepen the conversation, get more personal, or wax poetic about life and love, we have you covered on where to start.

15 Existential Questions

Existential Questions

  1. What motivates you in life?
  2. Who is your biggest hero?
  3. What gives you the greatest sense of pride about yourself?
  4. Is it natural to doubt your capabilities or is self doubt a sign of weakness?
  5. Would you ever change anything about your past if you could?
  6. What’s your biggest regret?
  7. What kind of impact do you want to leave on society?
  8. What do you expect your life to be like when you reach your “golden years?”
  9. Are you happiest by yourself or in large groups?
  10. Would you ever sacrifice yourself for the greater good?
  11. What does “feeling at home” mean to you?
  12. What’s something you consider to be priceless and why?
  13. Are there any personality traits that you completely clash with?
  14. If you could stop time only for yourself, how would you use that extra time?
  15. Would you want to remember every detail of your life? Why or why not?

15 Comedic Thought Provoking Questions

Philosophical Questions

  1. If you found a genie in a lamp, what would you wish for?
  2. What would you ask your pet if you could talk to animals for the day? If you don’t have a pet, what animal would you want to talk to?
  3. Is a vanilla soy latte technically a three bean soup?
  4. Do you ever experience second hand embarrassment?
  5. Would you be susceptible to a cult? Do you think people can recognize that before it’s too late?
  6. Can someone believe in nothing? Or does a belief in nothing still count as a belief in something?
  7. If you disassemble a car and replace all of the parts, is it still the same car as when you started?
  8. At what level of notoriety are you at for your death to be considered an assassination and not a homicide?
  9. How would you react if you woke up to learn that life is a fully immersive simulation?
  10. Is it ever better to never show up, and worse to be late?
  11. When was the last time you did something for the first time?
  12. Does it take one to know one?
  13. Will humanity invent more instruments or are we at a standstill?
  14. At what point has time gone on for too long to continue teaching history?
  15. How can the world be in debt? Who does it owe money to?

10 Philosophical Questions About the Unknown

  1. Do we only have five senses? What about a sixth sense?
  2. Do dreams have any meaning? If so, what do they mean?
  3. Are ghosts real?
  4. Is there life on other planets?
  5. What would your life be like in a parallel universe?
  6. If humanity moved to another planet because Earth was suddenly uninhabitable, would humanity just destroy the new planet or learn from their mistakes?
  7. Do you believe that the perception of reality is relative to individual lived experience? If so, then how do we truly express empathy?
  8. What’s something you would need to see to believe?
  9. Is it possible for people to see the future?
  10. What’s something you’ve experienced that no one believes you about?

10 Deep Thought Questions About Love

Deep Thought Questions About Love

  1. What’s more important, an emotional connection or a physical connection?
  2. Is it worse to care too much or not care enough?
  3. What’s a surefire way to break your trust?
  4. Can broken trust in a partner be mended?
  5. How can you tell that you’ve fallen in love?
  6. Is there someone for everyone?
  7. If you were in love, would you choose to get married?
  8. What is the opposite of love? Hatred, or indifference?
  9. How can you tell for sure someone has fallen out of love?
  10. What are some major green flags when dating someone?

10 Deep Questions About Life and Death

Deep Questions About Life

  1. Is reincarnation real?
  2. What happens when we die?
  3. If you could know how you’re going to die, would you really want to know?
  4. Would you rather cease to exist or experience an unknown afterlife?
  5. Is cloning ethical?
  6. Is our fate predetermined?
  7. How do you think humans will handle the next global disaster?
  8. Can money actually buy happiness in life?
  9. Is it true that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger? Or should we take someone’s mental wellbeing into consideration?
  10. Is leaving a legacy the only way to accomplish eternal life?

Concluding Thoughts

You can avoid having dull conversations by asking thought provoking questions. Just remember to make sure the mood is right. If you want someone to think critically about a subject matter but not fall down a rabbit hole, ask more comedic questions. You can still learn quite a lot from them even if you’re not asking personal details.

The trick is to have a follow up question or ask for them to explain why or why not. Open ended questions will always lead to a longer conversation and that next level conversation is exactly what you want.

What thought provoking questions tell you the most about someone?

Is there a question you recommend asking that always works to provide valuable insight into another person?

We’d enjoy reading about it in the comments!

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