I'm reading The Analects, by Confucius, and have a question.
According to Confucius, can non-virtue be learned?
There's no clear answer to this, so far, in the text.
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This is a major topic of debate.
"17.2 The Master said, “By nature people are similar; they diverge as the result of practice."
So clearly if that divergence leads some to be virtuous and other not to be, either:
Others have disagreed on which of those two things are meant. Xunzi noted that a lot of the Analects is about practice to make one good, so this may have meant 1.
But the majority opinion seems to go with Mencius, who maintained "human nature is good". So at least one famous immediate disciple thought this phrase 'obviously' meant 2.
Later commentators backed off from the question. After all, in practice, it can't really matter: we know that practice can improve the end result, and it is not really germane whether it works by merely cultivating native goodness or whether it inculcates goodness into something basically flawed. What works to produce the good, works.