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An Introduction to Thunks

A Thunk is a 'beguilingly simple-looking question about everyday things that stops you in your tracks and helps you start to look at the world in a whole new light'.

They are designed to make you think and make your brain hurt.

They achieve this by having no answers. Or lots of answers. It's all good.

They grew out of the work that Ian Gilbert was doing helping schools embrace Philosophy for Children in order get children for all ages and backgrounds and academic ability to think. To think deeply. To think philosophically. To think for themselves.

So, here are twenty to start you off. Just put them out there and see how people respond.

And remember, you can't be wrong. Or right.


  1. If you have two different foods in you mouth, do you have three tastes?
  2. If I lose £2 then find £1 am I lucky?
  3. In a horse race, are the horses racing?
  4. Are you who your dog thinks you are?
  5. Is a caterpillar a butterfly?
  6. Is your mind the oldest part of you?
  7. Should we pay criminals not to commit any more crimes?
  8. Is a baby poor?
  9. Can you tell the difference between a dream and the memory of a dream?
  10. If you didn’t mean to, is it ok?
  11. If it’s rude to stare at people who look different from us, would it be better to turn our backs?
  12. For children to know right from wrong do they have to be told what’s right and what’s wrong?
  13. Can you choose to like a work of art?
  14. If you had been born taller would you be a different person now?
  15. Should the jury have their backs to the accused like in The Voice?
  16. Is it always OK to punch a Nazi?
  17. Can you be proud of something you didn’t do?
  18. Is a murderer evil if they are just doing their job?
  19. If I disagree with you, are you a liar?
  20. Is it bad luck if your cat does a poo in the shower tray?

If you enjoyed these Thunks, then check out:

The Little Book of Thunks, Ian's original best-selling book.


The Compleat Thunks Book - a compendium of nearly 600 mind-bending questions.


A Tin of Thunks - have fun with 50 Thunks cards in a handy metal box.


During the current unpleasantness, you can but any of these great resources direct from the Independent Thinking Press and save 30% when you use 'CPD30' at the checkout

One more thing. You can witness for yourself the versatility and the power of Thunks at getting children talking and thinking with these Thunks on Death we put together with children's bereavement charity Winston's Wish. [ITL]

Ian Gilbert is the founder of Independent Thinking. Check out more of his writing at his Independent Thinking Press page here.

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