Is There A Limit On Asking ‘Why’ Questions?


I suppose in any conversation, you can always ask a follow-up ‘why’ question. Is there any limit to that? While thinking about the ‘limit’, let’s assume we are talking about the usefulness of a series of ‘why’ questions.

Philosophically, when pondering about the universe, we will all likely find a personal point where we would like to stop asking ‘why’ any further.

With science, there is a common language we have developed, by viewing science as a mode of acquiring knowledge about the universe through falsifiable hypotheses and experimentation.

Overall, in a conversation, I think there indeed is a limit to asking ‘why’ questions; and it is set by the common framework agreed upon by the two parties involved in the dialogue. And you can go as deep as this framework allows. I suppose you can pause, change the framework and continue asking why. Why don’t I shut up and have you listen to none other than Richard Feynman -

Also, to be clear, science does not concern itself with or claims to answer ‘why’ questions. It concerns itself with ‘what’ and ‘how’ questions.

Linguistically, ‘why’ questions assume a motive, a purpose, a ‘doer’. In science, when we answer questions like “why does it rain” or “why is the sky blue”, we are really answering how it rains and how the sky gets its blue.

This is not to say that ‘why’ questions are not legitimate or important questions. They sure are. Just that they are not with which science concerns itself.

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