The Study of Philosophy has a Purpose, and so Do You!
By Hannah Kissinger
Purpose is an important aspect of life for many people. Finding it is an exciting achievement, but uncovering it can be hard. That’s why diving into the study of philosophy can help others find purpose within their own field of study.
Have you ever wondered what your purpose is? Or better yet, wondered what your purpose is through your area of study? Many people will conclude that they’ve questioned these things before. Philosophy is not widely studied at Walla Walla University, however, diving into this unique field can give other areas insight into how the purpose of one discipline can affect the idea of purpose in others as well.
Gabran Arruda, junior social work major and philosophy minor, gave some thoughts on the matter. Although Arruda’s major is in social work, he applies his philosophy minor to his practice. He explained, “A way to understand how social work works is understanding different trains of thought which can better understand, reflect, and connect with various backgrounds with clients in this line of work. Philosophy is abstract while social work is more practical.” 
Arruda’s words were captivating, but they didn’t end there. He added, “It also provides a good foundation for an individual’s motivations for being a social worker. Staying rooted in the principles for the clients’ needs is the most important factor and that means the clients’ needs [are] number one.”  Arruda explained, “Overall, they both play a very important role because the abstract impacts the tangible.” 
Think about that for a moment. Even if your major and minor are two completely different areas of study, they can still impact each other in different and interesting ways. They don’t always have to co-align. In a unique way, this is helpful.
Arruda wasn’t the only one to have impactful thoughts on the subject. Dr. Timothy Golden, professor of history and philosophy, had a few comments as well. How can one find meaning and purpose within one’s discipline? His response was, “I find meaning and purpose in my discipline by examining myself. I think philosophy is beyond this surface while trying to understand issues related to reality and knowledge. I am a person who thinks beyond the surface.” 
I was taken aback by the words of Dr. Golden. Finding meaning and purpose that is “beyond the surface” was an interesting point for me to think about. Reflecting on this statement, I’ve concurred that maybe it meant thinking outside the box or seeing beyond the box we are unconsciously confined in. For Dr. Golden, philosophy is beyond that “box” or “surface.” Analyzing it further, I found that we don’t have to keep our area of study, or our purpose, stuck inside a box.
“Finding my purpose adds a huge amount of value to my life and religion because, as a Christian, I am prompted to see the differences between philosophy and my own Christian philosophy,” Dr. Golden continued, “I can see the shortcomings of it and no matter how hard it tries, it can’t really explain everything. This helps to reinforce my Christian faith.” 
Finding an area of study that suits the purpose that God has given you can be tough, however, he also gave deep and thoughtful insights based on this subject. “I’ve always thought that I was born to be a philosopher,” said Dr. Golden, “Since that was what I was born to do, everything I teach in class signifies my purpose. With everything that I do, I’m fulfilling my purpose in life. My career is my purpose, and I am fulfilling that as a philosopher. This is what God had me do.” 
I was awestruck while listening to Dr. Golden’s feedback. Finding a purpose doesn’t have to be stressful or hard; it’s whatever God has initially planned for you in the path of life He is intricately creating. A question to ponder is, what purpose does God have ready for you?
- Interview with Gabran Arruda, 10/4/2021.
- Interview with Dr. Timothy Golden, 10/4/2021.