Equal weighting. While there are subjective choices to be made in applying utilitarianism, according to the principle of universalism, all must be included and equal weight needs to be given to all concerned. Thus we must neither exclude nor prioritize ourselves: our own pain or pleasure—or that of those nearest to us—has equal weight to everyone else’s. This means that a business manager has equal responsibility to include the welfare of distant community members of their suppliers as they do their employee’s welfare or even their own employment.
Subjectivity. Clearly when using this theory you have to think rather creatively, and assessing such consequences as pleasure or pain might depend heavily on the subjective perspective of the person who carries out the analysis. Contemporary Australian utilitarian philosopher Peter Singer argues, somewhat controversially, that when calculating who is affected by an act, animals should be included in the calculations on equal footing with humanity. So the subjective question of who/what is incorporated into the calculation is just as important as the decision about what the consequence is likely to be for them. If it is hard to make these choices for humans, imagine the challenges of doing so for non-human species.
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