Philosophical Multicore

Sometimes controversial, sometimes fallacious, sometimes thought-provoking, and always fun.

There are no stupid questions.

Posted by Michael Dickens on May 31, 2009

Some people respond by saying that yes, there are stupid questions (what a clever response that is!). But in fact, there are no stupid questions. Let’s do a little scenario.

A boy is sitting in class while his teacher is talking about the mating habits of frogs. The boy’s mind is wandering, so he doesn’t know what is going on in the class. He asks, “Teacher, what are the mating habits of frogs?”

Was that a stupid question? Some would say yes. I say no. He was merely trying to increase his knowledge. Not paying attention, now that was stupid. But asking a question that he should have known the answer to was a good way for him to acquire the knowledge that he missed.


3 Responses to “There are no stupid questions.”

  1. Phynnboi said

    Who benefits from the answer? If only people who are behaving stupidly (such as the student in your example) will benefit from the answer, then I’d say it’s a stupid question.

  2. LRFLEW said

    how do you define a “stupid” question? I define it as a rhetorical question which was only asked to annoy the people who it was directed at. So how do YOU define a “stupid” question?

  3. mtgap said

    Stupid question: A question that serves no benefit to anyone.

    Phynnboi, that’s an interesting perspective. But if one person can benefit from the answer, why is it stupid? That person is benefitting. Sure, that person’s not very altruistic, but we can’t all be altruistic all the time.

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