17 Philosophical Questions Most People Struggle to Understand

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By Darryl Henderson

As human beings we are curious about the world around us, constantly asking questions about our existence or other various philosophical subjects. But, there are philosophical questions that we ask more than others. Here are 17 philosophical questions most people struggle to understand.

“Is Time an Illusion?”

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Time sculpts the world around us, allowing us to divide up our lives into smaller chunks. However, is time just an illusion, or does it hold a powerful significance in the fabric of reality? This question tests our understanding of time, encouraging us to reflect on the essence of the past, present, and future.

“What is the Meaning of Life?”

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Nearly every human being has questioned the meaning of life. Are we just put on this earth for no reason or is there a purpose for our existence? While we may never get a true answer, Harvard Medical School suggests that when people feel that their lives have meaning, they see their lives as significant, purposeful, and valuable.

“What is the True Nature of Reality?”

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In a search for knowledge, many people have debated if the society around us is truly real or if what we perceive is simply a product of our experiences and interactions. Scientists hold the belief that reality is subjective and that reality is a separate entity from our mind. 

“Do Aliens Exist?”

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Possibly one of the most pondered questions of our time, many people waste years researching if aliens do in fact exist. While mankind has already made progress by making contact with the moon and widening the scope of space exploration, there seems to still be speculation around the existence of aliens, raising questions about the possibility of other entities beyond Earth.

“Why Does Evil Exist?”

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Many people who believe in a higher power that’s protecting all of us on earth, seem perplexed with the idea of evil. They cannot comprehend that someone like God would allow evil on earth, where crime and bad deeds are widespread. Evil coexists with suffering, and many in society argue that life would be improved if evil were completely eliminated.

“Is Love Real?”

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The age-old question, “Is love real?” has swirled around many people’s minds for years now. Love is described as a powerful force that connects people in partnerships, family, and even with themselves. While some argue that love can be explained as a chemical reaction, other optimists believe it has a spiritual significance.

“Is Society Just a Social Construct?”

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Society consists of intricate webs of systems, authorities, and frameworks that shape our lives and actions. This prompts the idea that the societal structure might be more of a collective human agreement than a fixed reality. It challenges our sense of self and encourages us to rethink our assumptions and views.

“Do Humans Have Free Will?”

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According to Psychology Today, the question of free will has long challenged philosophers and religious thinkers. While many argue that we all have free will and the power to orchestrate our own lives, there are others who would believe that all of our actions are already predetermined.

“Does Having More Choices Lead To Greater Happiness?”

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Many people attribute the power of having more choices to a greater level of satisfaction or happiness. On one hand, the abundance of choices can empower individuals, offering a sense of autonomy and control over their lives. However, for many, being spoiled for choice when it comes to materialism and consumerism does not necessarily equate to happiness.

“Are We Living in a Simulation?”

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It may seem unrealistic that as humans, we are floating through space on a rock. The bizarreness of our existence has prompted many people to wonder if we are living in a simulation. As technology advances at a rapid rate, we now have the means to consider what famous philosophers once debated; that we do in fact live in a simulated reality.

“Do We Have Certain Traits Based on Nature or Nurture?”

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Genetics plays a huge role in crafting our minds, appearance, and behaviors. Our DNA determines what traits we inherit from our parents. However, the environment we grew up in is increasingly being credited for shaping us. Therefore, many people suggest that nature and nurture interact with each other and can be studied in conjunction.

“Is Beauty Subjective or Objective?”

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Some may argue that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. However, other people suggest that beauty is black and white. While it may be possible that the idea of beauty is largely influenced by human perception, modern beauty trends such as cosmetic surgery would suggest that there are specific beauty ideals that everyone wants to adhere to.

“Does God Exist?”

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We all like to think that there is someone watching over us such as a supreme being or deity. Probably one of the most important philosophical questions relates to the existence of God as we have no physical proof of his existence. The BBC suggests that our views of God, physics, or anything else ultimately depend on perspective.

“What is the Self?”

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The debate over “what is the self” persists because it strikes at the core of human identity, challenging our understanding of who we are. It includes profound philosophical inquiries into consciousness, existence, and personal identity, sparking diverse perspectives and interpretations. 

“What Is The Significance of Death?”

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The topic of death triggers debates because it touches on the deep mystery of what it means to be alive and our eventual end. It encourages us to think about what life means, what might come after death, and what we leave behind. This journey explores deep worries, religious thoughts, and the traditions we follow, shaping how we view death, an unavoidable part of life.

“How Should We Live Our Lives?”

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The topic of how to live our lives sparks discussion because it deeply affects our personal morals, happiness, and how well society gets along. It leads us to deep questions about what makes us happy, what our goals are, and how we should act toward others, bringing out different opinions and beliefs.

“Do Animals Have Rights?”

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The Guardian proposes that people have been arguing fiercely, dogmatically, and even violently about animal welfare for a very long time. Our relationship with animals is a complex one. We treat some animals more humanely, such as the pet dog, yet we apply different logic to farm animals.