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Erik Zhang


Endeavors: UNC Research

Interview with Erik Zhang

May 26, 2022

Upon taking an intro to philosophy course in college, Erik Zhang fell in love with asking big questions about the world. Today, the UNC philosopher studies why people give preference to family members, friends, and themselves over strangers.

 “In my first semester of college, I needed a course to fill my schedule and chanced upon this introductory class in philosophy. I did not have much independent interest in the course material at that time, but it fit with my timetable perfectly so I decided to enroll. And that course changed my life. I had a phenomenal instructor, whose passion and enthusiasm for the course material piqued my interest. So, I started to do the readings more carefully, paid closer attention in class, and thought through the issues in my free time. It was like discovering a whole new world. What is knowledge? How do we know anything? What exists? What makes some things morally right and other things morally wrong? These questions started to swirl around in my head. By the end of that course, I had a keen sense that I wanted to spend the rest of my life thinking about these deep questions.”

Erik Zhang is a teaching assistant professor in the Department of Philosophy within the UNC College of Arts & Sciences. He studies why people give preference to the needs and interests of family members, friends, and themselves over strangers.

Check out the full interview over at UNC Research with PPE faculty member, Erik Zhang HERE:


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