There’s No Sense Complaining…Or Is There?: Trent’s Chair in Ethics Asks the Question
Dr. Kathryn Norlock’s work on when it’s OK to complain buoyed by Trent’s investment in philosophy-based research
If complaining figures prominently on your daily to-do list, take some pride in that – you may be opening the door for another to share his or her pain.
This is according to Dr. Kathryn Norlock, the Kenneth Mark Drain Chair in Ethics and associate professor of Philosophy at Trent. Professor Norlock’s research into whether it is morally acceptable to complain, and under what circumstances, has proven that “it’s justifiable when it’s a way to reduce one’s own isolation…when complaining says ‘I don’t want to be alone with this.’”
“Voicing a complaint that you suspect someone shares can open a door to someone who may want to disclose their pains and doesn’t know if they can,” adds Prof. Norlock, pointing to an example of an interaction detailed in a recent research essay.
“Two co-workers arriving at the entrance to a building in the freezing rain. There’s something valuable about seeing the other shivering and dripping, and saying, ‘Awful out, isn’t it?’ It can be bonding. It can be attentive to a shared state. I suggest it’s an affective duty because sometimes we should trade pains and take care of each other as emotional beings.”
“Trent University leadership has always made it clear that they value research and take proper pride in our productive and amazing faculty,” says Prof. Norlock.
Prof. Norlock says explains that undergraduate students in her third and fourth-year seminars keep her on top of her game.
“Most of a seminar is about reading classic texts but when I share what I’m writing about those classics, the questions and criticisms I get from my students really push me to improve and revise my arguments,” she says.