Empathy or the predisposition to mentally assimilate the feelings of other individuals has recently been widely debated in the context of altruistic or moral behavior. The forms of empathy that begin seem to exist in other animals. In humans, there is growing evidence that we automatically simulate the experience of other people (Gazzaniga, 2008, chap. 5, pp. 158-199). Empathy is a common human phenomenon that is certainly related to our advanced intelligence, which allows us to understand the harms or benefits that affect other people, as well as the feelings that are related to it. Empathetic people can therefore choose to behave in the way their behavior affects those for whom we feel empathy. That is, human empathy is due to our advanced intelligence. People can then choose to be altruistic or not, that is, morally or not, with regard to the expected consequences of their actions on others. To answer the first question, it is necessary to determine what is happening with the “natural” human condition (before the establishment of a modern and large-scale society) that motivates us to build the specific rules, norms and social expectations related to justice. Hume does this by sketching out a report on how natural men recognize the benefits of establishing and preserving cooperative practices.
In practice, people justify the moral norms they follow, on several doctrines, not just one, metaethic. Thomas von Aquinas, a Christian theologian of the thirteenth century, whose authority is still highly respected today, says that some moral laws come from divine authority (worship only one God), others from natural law (do not kill, do not commit adultery) and still others from civil authority (respect private property, pay taxes). Locke identifies two different reasons for obedience. The realization that the obligation to the king derives from his legitimate authority offers a reason for obedience that is lacking in case of obedience to the pirate. My reasons for obeying the pirate are hedonistic, but my reasons for obeying the king imply my recognition of his legitimate authority. In the same essay, Locke explains that Locke writes in essays on the law of nature that “all the conditions of a law are found in natural law” (Locke 1663-4, 82). But what does it take for something to be a law? Locke takes stock of what makes the law to create the legalistic framework of morality: first, the law must be based on the will of a hierarchical superior. Secondly, it must fulfil the function of establishing rules of conduct. Third, it must be binding on man, for there is an obligation of respect due to the higher authority that introduces the laws (Locke 1663-4, 83). . . .