Yunjie Zhang

Research title: The convergence hypothesis and the moral conflicts of animal experimentations

Research Summary

The moral rights view (MRV) and utilitarianism have extreme different views on animal experimentations; the former is totally opposed but the latter is supportive provided. Gary Varner thinks it is necessary to find an application to reconcile in MRV and utilitarianism for supporting the ethical legitimacy on animal testing. His idea of consensus and convergence between the two theories is influenced by Bryan Norton’s “the convergence hypothesis”. Simply says is, Bryan is doing environmental ethics, and he found that environmental problems are so often problems of integration; environmentalists appeal to elements of at least seven distinct world-views and a diversity of associated values, but they have been able to trace an emerging consensus regarding desirable environmental policies. The consensus function as an item of faith, guiding plural environmental values and principles search for a rational solution to environmental problems. Varner might consider there is no single moral principle can deal with the issue of animal experimentations, and the issue of animal experimentations need a better ethical value or principle to lead for a rational solution. Then, the convergence hypothesis function might be the solution.

My research attempts to explore the possibility of reconciling MRV and utilitarianism, at least with regards to the issues of animal experimentation. I plan to focus on the following questions; how one single moral principle (e.g. the MRV or utilitarianism) fails on the issue of animal experimentations? Why consensus between MRV and utilitarianism is important on animal testing issue? What is convergence hypothesis from Bryan Norton?

My areas of specialization are environmental ethics and animal ethics.


  • Who should not be harmed: Human and Non-human in the animal experimentation debate
    The 2019 International Society for the History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Biology   Conference
    University of Oslo, 2019

  • Rethinking Intrinsic value and instrumental value in environmental ethics
    Intradepartmental Postgraduate Conference
    University of Glasgow, 2019
  • The issue of Eating Dog Meat in China

  • The application of the worse-off principle in the animal experimentation debate
    The 6th Conference of the European Association for Critical Animal Studies: Rethinking revolution:    Nonhuman animals, antispeciesism, and power / UPF-Centre for Animal Ethics
    Universitat Pompeu Fabra, 2019