Dao or The Way in Daoism is “universal,” which means it is above the human being and cannot be changed nor conquered by human wisdom or action (Cheung & Chan 2005).
This is also reflected in the concept of virtue in Daoism. As nature and its processes are perceived as being naturally harmonious, the human being is advised to follow dao in order to maintain natural harmony and inner balance.
The virtues associated with the Way are consequently derived from the processes or features to be found in nature. Similar to Confucianism, Daoism also uses a particular role model, which here is the Sage, who is in absolute harmony with nature.
In Daoism, de 德 is used and commonly translated with “virtue.” However, de neither corresponds with the Roman notion of virtus nor with Aristotle’s aretē. It does not reflect “manly valour” or “excellence”, nor is it conceptualised as a ‘mean’ between two extremes.
Daoism in contrast to Confucianism is less about maintaining social harmony but more about an individual refinement with regard to reviving and fostering the actual “nature” of the human being.