Morality is the “ought” that relates the self to others (although we will come to see that there is a fundamental “ought” that also relates us to our own “self” and the role of our ego in determining what is good or bad for us).
In any event, the moral expectation is that we must strive for good and avoid, or fight, evil.
Good and evil are not only defined individually but also socially. Morality is more than a social contract, it captures our highest values and instincts for what our lives could be and should be (at least according to the majority).
Our highest good is inevitably bound up with the highest good of the others most closely connected to us. Morality is unavoidable if for no other reason than it is a necessary limit to our “wills” in the pursuit of our own “good” (as well as the “good” of others). We are, whether we like it or not, corporate (as well as, social) creatures.
The social contract is practical and necessary and immediate. It is sometimes (and to a degree) backed by common law and justice and is punished and rewarded accordingly. Often social expectations have an unwritten system of rewards and punishments that may or may not affect our ability to relate economically or socially with others.
Morality is deeper still and is oriented toward those attitudes and actions that go beyond the social contract and, in fact, under gird the way that we deal with each other. “Honesty is a good policy.” “Keep your promises.” “Every person is valuable and deserves our respect and care.”
These are not things that can be legislated for or against.
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Footnotes and references included in the original manuscript.