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Everybody to Count for One? Inclusion and Exclusion in Welfare-Consequentialist Public Policy

  • Noel Semple EMAIL logo


Which individuals should count in a welfare-consequentialist analysis of public policy? Some answers to this question are parochial, and others are more inclusive. The most inclusive possible answer is ‘everybody to count for one.’ In other words, all individuals who are capable of having welfare – including foreigners, the unborn, and non-human animals – should be weighed equally. This article argues that ‘who should count’ is a question that requires a two-level answer. On the first level, a specification of welfare-consequentialism serves as an ethical ideal, a claim about the attributes that the ideal policy would have. ‘Everybody to count for one’ might succeed on this level. However, on the second level is the welfare-consequentialist analysis procedure used by human analysts to give advice on real policy questions. For epistemic reasons, the analysis procedure should be more parochial than ‘everybody to count for one.’

Corresponding author: Noel Semple, Associate Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Windsor, Windsor, Ontario, Canada, E-mail: .


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Published Online: 2021-02-25
Published in Print: 2022-10-26

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