Human moral emotions

Sympathy was the original, emotional wellspring of morality, present in apes and other animals. In humans, however, morality is pluralistic: it consists of several moral emotions, not just one. Social relationships are managed by sympathy and loyalty (binding emotions), trust and respect (collaborative emotions), and resentment and guilt (reactive emotions). These emotions enabled forms of cooperation unique to humankind.

A Better Ape, p. 57

I would like to better understand the claim that these are the basic moral emotions. But I’m on board with the idea that morality is fundamentally about cooperation, and it seems clear that several different emotions underwrite our cooperative abilities.

January 1, 2024