Take the 2-minute tour ×
Cognitive Sciences Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for practitioners, researchers, and students in cognitive science, psychology, neuroscience, and psychiatry. It's 100% free, no registration required.

When someone asks a questioner about the reason for his/her question, if they in return answer "just asking" roughly meaning "for no particular reason".

Should that answer, from the perspective of cognitive science, be considered to be a false statement which the question is not even aware of?

Meaning can a thought process that raises a particular question just pop out of nowhere and lead to an arbitrary question?

share|improve this question

closed as off-topic by Christian Hummeluhr, AliceD, MaríaAnt, Krysta, Josh Mar 25 at 12:21

  • This question does not appear to be about cognitive sciences within the scope defined in the help center.
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

A negative vote without a reason is not good my friends. –  Bleeding Fingers Mar 10 '14 at 16:38
I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it's a question for the English SE, not CogSci. –  Christian Hummeluhr Mar 25 at 9:24

2 Answers 2

No, because some times you will just be being curious, or have a trivial reason for asking, and to expand further as to why you were asking would serve no purpose.

For instance, imagine a competition which required some research in the library. If the librarian asked why you wanted a particular book, and you replied "just asking", then you would be giving a false statement. It would make sense to do this, because the last thing you want is some know-it-all librarian entering your competition and pulling the prize from under your feet, to mix metaphors. However, sense or not, it would be a false statement.

However, imagine if you were standing outside the library waiting for a bus. It wasn't due for half an hour. Theres a big advert next to you, for a chocolate bar. Its says its the biggest chocolate bar in the world. It doesn't however, say exactly how big it is. You've got half an hour to kill, so you pop into the library and ask for the appropriate book. When the librarian asks why, you could explain it to them, but it would be a lot easier just to reply "just asking" as the answer is of no consequence. The librarian was just being polite.

Incidently, why do you ask?

share|improve this answer
I disagree, for example, in your example you explain how "just asking" is used to prevent explaining something, or to fuel simple curiousity. However, in those cases, the person would not be simply "just asking", and there would be a reason behind his questioning. Hence, it shouldn't be possible to be "just asking" a question. –  Monacraft Feb 8 '14 at 7:09
if i could flag this as having no sources i would –  caseyr547 Feb 9 '14 at 7:56
But, at least in my neck of the woods, "just asking" is analagous to "just being curious". It doesn't mean "just opening my mouth for the sake of it". Its meaning is already implied. –  Dominic Lloyd Feb 9 '14 at 23:25

I completly agree with your point, that when someone asks a question, them replying "just asking" as the reason for asking the question would be completly false.

Whenever an individual asks a question their reason behind asking it can always be categorised as either curiousity or purpose.

For example, say someone was going camping and figured he would need to light a campfire to make the trip enjoyable for others. For this reason, he would ask how to start a campfire, and if he replied "just asking" to prevent explaining his situation, he would be saying a false statement as he had a purpose for asking his question.

By contrast, if someone wondered what was needed to start a campfire, him asking that question would be due to curiousity. Thus if he replied, "just asking" he would be saying a false statement as he is being driven by curiousity, and in all likely hood this curiousity would have been derived from something else (watching it happend in a movie, reading it in a book, talking to some friends or thinking about a situation which involved a campfire). Thus he would have a reason for asking his question curiousity based of a specific thought.

The only reasonable situation where, "just asking" may be a true response would be if someone decided to conjure random statements (purely random), firstly, the question he or she would genereate would have to be based of some curiousity, (even the smallest), or would have to be plain-expressionless questions like "Whats 152+76?" or "How many letters in fickle?". However, if he was asking these questions with absoloutely NO interest in the answer or for no other reason, his purpose would be to either, justify a reason to respond with "just asking" which to the contray would give him a purpose other than "just asking" or his purpose would be to simply ask questions of no interest to himself (the activity he is doing!) hence he would have a purpose!

Thus the responsive statement "just asking" is ALWAYS false.

If you disagree, I disagree (with you), so feel free to try firing some cases at me.


share|improve this answer
if i could flag this as having no sources i would but i'm out of flags –  caseyr547 Feb 9 '14 at 7:56

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.