Serendip is an independent site partnering with faculty at multiple colleges and universities around the world. Happy exploring!

Reply to comment

ems8140's picture

How or Why?

In class on Thursday we discussed the difference between “how” and “why” in terms of searching for meaning in a situation. The “how” of an event was thought of as more scientific, physical, concrete, and objective, while the “why” of a situation may be considered metaphysical, abstract, subjective, and relate more to the humanities. This conversation was particularly interesting to me because it allowed me to hear the different viewpoints as to which one would provide more meaning for different people. The “why” could provide more meaning of an event because it is more subjective and allow for deeper interpretation. However, I feel that in certain situations, it could be more comforting to here the “how” of an event as opposed to the “why.” For example, if someone was diagnosed with a disease that arose solely because of his or her genetics, I believe that learning the science and concrete reasons for the disease would provide greater comfort for the person. One wouldn’t have to spend time ruminating on what he or she could have possibly done differently to change the outcome, which could possibly just lead to more health problems. Whether a person uses the “how” or “why” or a combination of the two to understand a circumstance, it is important for an individual to try to find meaning in a negative event. If people fail to do so, they will never develop and grow from an adverse situation.



The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
To prevent automated spam submissions leave this field empty.
1 + 4 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.