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Some philosophical questions to think about

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1. What is the mind?

2. What is the soul?

3. Do we have minds? Do we have souls?

4. How is the mind related to the body?

5. Does the soul survive the death of the body?

6. What is thinking?

7. What is an emotion?

8. Can we know anything for certain?

9. What does it mean to know anything?

10. How do we know anything?

11. Do we have free will or is everything we do predetermined by our nature, circumstances, etc.?

12. Is there such a thing as human nature?

13. If so, can it be defined and if it can, how would you characterize or define it?

14. Is human nature good, bad, or indifferent?

15. Is there a God?

16. How can we know if there is or is not a God?

17. If God exists, why is there so much evil in the world and why do the righteous often suffer and the wicked prosper?

18. What do you think the relation of all these questions is to science and to religion?

19. Do you think they are worth thinking about?

20. What do you think is the goal of human life?

21. What do we mean by terms like “good,” “bad,” “just,” “unjust,” etc.?

22. What is the good life?

23. What is happiness?

24. Is there a universal standard for the good life and happiness or is everything relative?

25. Does one’s culture or other social group completely determine one’s values?

26. What do we mean by “culture”?

27. What is the nature of human society, as distinct from that of other creatures?

28. Are human societies founded on a social contract, or on some other basis?

29. Is human society like a biological organism?

30. What are the criteria of a just society?

31. What are the various kinds of political organization and what is their nature?

32. Which of these are the best and which are the worst?

33. Is there a pattern to be discerned in human history?

34. What causes and effects are at work in human history?

35. What is the nature of scientific explanation?

36. Are there actually laws in science?

37. What do we mean by scientific proof or confirmation?

38. What are the essential methods of science?

39. What actually constitutes a science?

40. What is matter?

41. What is energy?

42. What is force?

43. What is space?

44. Does space have a beginning or an end?

45. What is time?

46. How can we measure time, both physically and psychologically?

47. Does time have a beginning or an end?

48. What is the origin and fate of the universe?

49. Do the concepts of mathematics represent real entities or are they strictly fictions?

50. What is the nature of the infinite?

51. What is reasoning? What is logic?

52. What do we mean by logical truth and logical validity?

53. To what extent can concepts from various disciplines be reduced to logical form?

54. Can computer programs be written that will surpass human intelligence?

55. Is the mind like a computer or is it something very different?

56. What is life? I.e., what is a living organism as compared with non-living matter?

57. What is man’s relation to the environment?

58. Is mankind a proper steward of the environment?

59. What is mankind’s relationship to other creatures?

60. What is beauty?

61. What is art?

62. How does art operate upon our minds and emotions?

63. What is the nature of language?

64. How do words mean? How are languages formed? How do they operate?

65. What is the ultimate nature of reality?
These same questions are discussed both in the discipline of philosophy and in the respective disciplines to which they pertain.

Philosophy 101

© Robert Greene, 2003

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