Criterial vs Ground-level Moral Explanations

To help show why certain objections to consequentialism are misguided, let us distinguish two importantly different kinds of explanation of particular moral facts. [Revising and expanding upon a
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To help show why certain objections to consequentialism are misguided, let us distinguish two importantly different kinds of explanation of particular moral facts. [Revising and expanding upon a distinction I originally drew back here.]What we can call a criterial explanation appeals to the necessary and sufficient conditions for the truth of some moral claim, i.e. the conditions that appear in place of the `X(Y)' in theoretical accounts of the form, ``An act is right (wrong) iff X(Y).'' If I randomly kick Joe in the shins, the wrongness of my act can be explained criterially by the fact that my act has the general property Y, which is necessary and sufficient for an act's being wrong. (Maybe Y is the property of failing to maximize value, or maybe it is the property of violating the weighted balance of one's prima facie duties.)A ground-level explanation, by contrast, appeals to the particular non-normative features of the act or evaluand which ground its having the moral. . .

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