When people start asking, “What if?” questions, many who are listening tend to get irritated. Most think the, “What if?” questions are endless and there is no point in addressing them. But what if we don’t?
Depending on the context, “What if?” questions are either useful or wasteful. In terms of our principles I regard it as very important to ask this question. What if the only way to prevent a wrong in particular circumstance is to commit a lesser wrong? Do the ends always or never justify the means? We have to ask, “What if?” and then propose a hypothetical situation to find where our morality stands.
I’ve heard it said that philosophy is useless and that asking too many questions is a waste of time. Imagine a world in which we didn’t think to see if our beliefs were contradictory or complimentary with one another. Think of the chaos that would ensue. What if the Christians during the slave trade had never asked, “What if slaves have souls?” What if Galileo had never asked, “What if the Earth orbits the Sun?” What if the most inspiring figures in history, the faces of change and social justice, had never asked, “What if things were different?”
In response to, “There is no point in asking what if” all I can say is, “What if we didn’t?”