I understand that, but my question was more about how we are supposed to know what the absolute moral directive is in any given situation.
I don’t see how that’s relevant. The point is that we are an enormously successful species biologically speaking.
I didn’t say that it was. I don’t think anything about our evolution was inevitable.
We’ve been evolving longer than that and have been developing the ability for cooperation for a long time, for which morality is needed. There are examples of empathy in the animal world, even. I believe I’ve read that mammalian empathy is related to the need for to care for young, and that evolutionary change can occur quite quickly. I’m also interested in hearing more and investigating this area.
For my part, empathy is a feeder into that system and not an output. Empathy will cause such feelings, but not all people possess empathy in equal degrees, and some even seem to totally lack it (part of what is considered the disorder of psychopathy). I think this is an area where rationality does come into play. We are able to understand the effects of our actions. Because we can, we have a moral responsibility for them. That’s how I see it. Imagine a person with a severe mental disorder who lacks such understanding. Do we say “they are a person and they have an equivalent moral responsibility”, or do we recognize that their unfortunate lack of understanding means they lack moral agency?