What Makes People Virtuous
Virtue is defined as "the quality of moral excellence, righteousness, and responsibility" (Pg.73) While studying what makes a virtuous person their character rather than actions are studied. Honesty, courage, moderation, compassion, wisdom and loyalty are a few examples of the characteristics of a virtuous person. (pg.82) Virtue is the moderate option. For example a person can be greedy or a person can give everything they have away, but the person who takes care of themselves and others in virtuous because they are being responsible for themselves and others.
In relation to what constructs a virtue is the origin of virtue in a person. Virtue is not born in a person, rather it is learned. A baby is not born knowing what is too much and what is not enough, nor do they know what their responsibilities are. Virtue is acquired through the experiences a person has throughout life, and by their environment. The virtue of honesty is an example. A young child may lie in order to protect themselves from consequences; they may not be honest unless their parents tell them to be. This child then learns that honesty is a good virtue whereas lying is not and feels it is their responsibility to tell the truth. Confucius states that people will develop a sense of shame and therefore order themselves. (Pg.74) If a person is being dishonest they may feel guilt due to their betrayal towards another person, therefore they are not being righteous.
Loyalty is another example of a virtue that is learned rather than innate. Being loyal can consist of dedication to a viewpoint, person or place. When first born, a child is loyal to their mother, but this does not mean virtue is innate. The baby is loyal to their mother because they depend on their mother for nurturing and survival. The child then develops loyalty to their family considering they spend the most time with the family unit. Showing loyalty is a