Amateur Philosophy: Reframing Average Utilitarianism

World A has a million people with an average utility of 10; world B has 100 people with an average utility of 11. Average utilitarianism says world B is preferable to world A. This seems counterintuitive as it has less total utility, but what if we reframe the question?

Imagine you are behind a veil of ignorance and you have to choose which world you will be instantiated into, becoming one citizen randomly selected from the population. From this perspective, world B is the obvious choice: even though it has far less total utility than word A, you personally get more utility by being instantiated into world B. This remains true even if world B only has 1 citizen, though most people, presumably, have “access to good company” in their utility function.

This reframing seems to invert my intuitions. Though this may just mean I am more selfish than most.

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