Jenny Zhang

PhD Philosophy

  • Philosophy
  • School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences

Contact details



40 George Square

Post code

Responsibilities & affiliations

  • Edinburgh Minorities and Philosophy (MAP) Chapter (previously Edinburgh Women in Philosophy Group), September 2020 – present
  • James McCune Smith Reading Group (as part of Edinburgh MAP Chapter), September 2020 – present

Undergraduate teaching

  • Associate Fellowship (AFHEA), Advance HE (HEA), February 2022 – present
  • Philosophy Tutor, September 2019 – present

Teaching Awards Nominee, Edinburgh University Students’ Association (2024; 2021)

"Topics in Mind and Cognition" (2023/2024), seminar on the hard problem of consciousness

“Morality and Value” (2023/2024; 2022/2023; 2021/2022; 2020/2021)

“Introduction to the History of Philosophy” (2022/2023) (Formerly, “Greats: From Plato to the Enlightenment”)

“Greats: From Plato to the Enlightenment” (2021/2022; 2020/2021)

“Knowledge and Reality” (2019/2020)

  • PPLS Skills Centre Tutor, September 2019 – present

Research summary

Moral psychology, moral philosophy, philosophy of mind, philosophy of science

Current research interests

My current research interests lie at the intersection of moral psychology, moral philosophy, and philosophy of science. I think about features of moral behaviour and agency, potential trade-off between experimental control and ecological validity in empirical moral psychology, and the effects of abstracting and value-laden scientific methods. I investigate whether (or the extent to which) the moral subject matters (moral attitude, judgement, behaviour, experience, etc.) could be studied through the use of certain methodologies. Overall, I am interested in both methodological critiques of psychological research and critiques of moral theories.

Past research interests

Narrative understanding, affective understanding, reasoning, meta-evaluation

Knowledge exchange

Research Assistant for The Ethics Cup (University of St. Andrews), Young Academy Scotland, 2023-present

Papers delivered

  • The Possibilities of Moral Life and the Impossibility of Moral Psychology”, “Possibilities, Impossibilities, and Conflict in Ethics” conference, Centre of Ethics, University of Pardubice, June 2023
  • “The ecological validity of moral psychology studies. A case study: Goodwin and Landy (2014)”, Active Mind Lab, University of Edinburgh, March 2023

  • “A methodological critique of moral psychology”, Normativity Workshop 2022, University of Edinburgh, August 2022
  • “A new direction for moral psychology? Lessons from everyday moral experiences”, 9th Conference by Women, Genderqueer and Non-binary Philosophers, University of Antwerp, June 2022
  • “A new direction for moral psychology? Lessons from everyday moral experiences”, 2022 Utrecht Philosophy Graduate Conference, Utrecht University, May 2022
  • “Responsiveness to Reasons and Changing One’s Mind”, “Why and How We Give and Ask for Reasons” Conference, University of Hradec Králové (Hybrid), October 2021
  • “The Role of Meta-evaluation through Narrative Self-understanding in Changing One’s Mind”, Reasons, Rationality, and Culture Workshop, Tilburg University (Online), October 2021
  • “Reasoning, meta-evaluation and narrative understanding: understanding ‘intuitive’ moral judgements”, Active Mind Lab, University of Edinburgh (Online), April 2021
  • “Reasoning and narrative understanding in grasping arguments”, BPPA Seminar Series, British Postgraduate Philosophy Association (BPPA) (Online), April 2021
  • “Reasoning and narrative understanding: how we make sense of others’ moral judgements”, Postgrad Philosophy Work-in-Progress (WiP) Seminar, University of Edinburgh (Online), February 2021
  • “Reasoning and narrative understanding via emotional cadence in argument”, Active Mind Lab, University of Edinburgh (Online), October 2020
  • YourEd Subject Tutor, Widening Participation YourEd+ Project (for S5 and S6 students from underprivileged backgrounds), May 2021 – present
  • Teaching Support, Sutton Trust Summer School (for students of ages 16–18 from underprivileged backgrounds), July 2020