What makes ppl 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 virtue because some people will do whatever is required to help the cause they are loyal to, they feel it is their responsibility to do so. For example, some religious groups are loyal to their churches. They may get involved in charities and show moral goodness by helping others. It shows responsibility to society also because this member is trying to enhanced society by helping those in need. Considering virtue is learned it needs to be taught. Virtues can be taught through the family or by guardians.
When a child is young he/she does not know much about the world. What they do know was taught through experience and being reprimanded or rewarded for the action committed. In other words, the child learned through reinforcement. Virtues can be taught this way, a child must learn the “middle path” rather than vices. Virtue ethics strives to create a good person and combine reason and emotion. (Pg. 86) A child is led by emotions, for example when they are angry they may scream or cry. In order to teach the virtue of tranquility a parent or authority figure can show the child how to avoid getting angry to begin with.
Another example, is the virtue of sincerity, manners are taught to children at a young age by parents. Not only can authority figures teach virtue but so can society. Each person has a view of what is right and wrong and each person has a set of virtues. Society and how those in society judge a person can teach this person how to be virtuous. Benjamin Franklin lists industry as a virtue; he states that people should be useful. (Pg. 84) Society can teach this because people interact in society daily. For example, in the workplace if one person slacks another worker is affected.
Each worker had a certain job and the jobs come together to achieve success and the pressure to gain success pressures people to do their job. This pressure teaches the virtue of industry and the pressure comes from succeeding in society. Virtue is taught in order to create citizens with proper morality, responsibility and righteousness. Each person holds different stock in different virtues but ultimately each person has virtues. The pressures to succeed as well as lessons taught by authority figures establish virtue which tries to create good people who can live prosperous lives.