Why, what do you mean when you ask “Why?” ?



That’s not the right question.

Well. It might be the right question, but the answer might be right but differently wrong in all sorts of ways.

When parents ask – “Why has A got poorly with Ulcerative Colitis/sepsis?” – the answer might be

  1. Because humans are complicated things and sometimes break down
  2. Because the bacteria that invaded through his gut and started to multiply got nobbled by immune cells that released pyrogens and inflammatory cytokines are making everything get very upset and it’s an unpleasant sensation
  3. Because his genetics and microbiota came together in an unfortunate conflagration
  4. Because life is a series of challenges and delights towards an ultimate expression of human purpose in/through/after Death

Presuming which type of answer you’re being asked for may lead you off down a sticky wicket.

So – as is often repeated – make sure you know what’s being asked before you answer.

– Archi

(You may note that these four why?s are the Aristotelian ’causes’: material,formal, efficient and final. I have been asked, professionally, questions desiring each type of answer.)

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