That's always a danger in these kinds of discussions.
But only a danger in the most trivial sense.
Actually, I wasn't attempting to assert anything. I was merely pointing out that you had overlooked a possible alternative explanation.
I wasn't overlooking it, i was proceeding from an earlier position which i had taken, explicitly, that morality is the subjective judgement of the community in which it obtains.
Then you equate "good" with "that which furthers one's goals" and "evil" with "that which hinders one's goals?"
Although i had not particularly posited this, yes, i believe that when people create the subjective systems of "morality" which they then tout and to which they allege that they adhere, they are motivated by self-interest. So, for example, a moral dictum
which asserts that the young must respect the old simply on the basis of their ancient decrepitude appears to me to be an obvious construct of those who are among the older members of the community which holds that value. Certainly there are those among the aged who are valuable repositories of knowledge and experience; there are just as many--and perhaps more--who are doddering old fools, whose conversations are blithering, stream-of-consciousness rehearsals of how they misunderstood their own lives and times. It is not assured that having survived to a certain age has conferred wisdom, nor that any one individual has taken valuable lessons from their experience which can be inerrantly passed on to the young. Obviously, i'm making statements from authority in these matters--but i'm explaining what sort of logic motivates my dismissal of moral systems as self-interested codes cobbled together by the leaders of communities who stood to gain from the implementation of those moral codes. That some, or even most, of the moral code stands to provide advantages for all or nearly all members of a community does not, in my view, alter their essentially subjective character.
If you wish to return to the issue of whether or not morality is a statement of universal and indisputable truths, or a set of subjective statements, i have no problem with that--although i believe that i have clearly outlined why it is that i see moral systems in this light. If one asserts that any one person elucidating a moral code may have a flawed understanding, and that some or all of what they say falls short of the universal truths which ought to underpin morality--then one is left with determining how the truth of morality can be known, of upon whom one can rely to discover what these universal truths actually are.
You are using morality in an entirely strange and idiosyncratic way, which comes into this discussion in the nature of a tacit assertion that this is the case.
No, that is not tacit at all. From the outset in this thread, i pointed out that i see moral systems as being the customary creations of societies, so that ought to have been clear from the beginning. I took the trouble to point out that i usually stipulate a distinction between ethics and morality, and briefly at least explained why i make such a stipulation.
Additionally, my use of morality in this manner might only be asserted to be strange and idiosyncratic to editors of dictionaries or professors of philosophy, who feel they have a stake in the assertion that morality is (or ought to be) a code of universal statements of absolute truth regarding what is good and what isn't. I've met a great many people who do not hold that morality refers to universal, immutable truths, and therefore reject the charge that the view is idiosyncratic. It might not be wide-spread, although it appears to be based upon my anecdotal experience.
However, I have pointed out that I, and many others, do not consider this so. I have stipulated my definition of "morality," and you are ignoring that. I consider that you don't wish to discuss that which is the more interesting and important part of the discussion from my point of view. I accept that, but am likely to become more quickly bored with this discussion.
You'll have that.
Well, I don't quite understand the distinction between someone who views "right" and "wrong" in moral terms and someone who views them in "justified" terms. If, for instance, "right" and "wrong" are measured by purely utilitarian standards (e.g. an action that is more conducive to survival is "good"), then that establishes a moral system based upon a utilitarian calculus. Calling it something other than "morality" doesn't change its inherent nature. You are still setting up a system for determining which actions are "right" and which are "wrong," and that creates a system of morality.
However, i am pointing out that this "morality" does not refer to universal, indisputable and immutable truths, but is only based upon preferences. If we take the definition of morality which you stipulated, and which i have already acknowledged to be widely-held, then all distinctions of right and wrong, of good and bad, will be referential to the said universal truths. However, i have pointed out that i consider morality to be based upon customary preference, and am attempting (apparently not succeeding, though) to demonstrate the basis upon which i reject the concept of moral universality and assert particularist prefernce as the basis of moral systems. That idea is important to many people made uncomfortable by the concept of morality partaking of "revealed truth" because they (and i) consider that there are many moral precepts worthy of challenge, and they (and i) are unwilling to accept the basis for which people most often claim absolute moral truth--which is theistic imprimatur.
I'm sorry this conversation bores you--perhaps we could enliven it with some added discussion of base-soo-ball, which bin berry, berry good to me . . .