Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Timothy O'Keefe

Second Advisor

Andrew Jason Cohen

Third Advisor

Harold Thorsrud


Aristotle believes that certain pursuits are objectively choice worthy regardless of our attitudes towards them. Moreover, in order to have the correct beliefs about which actions are choice worthy, they must have acquired the right dispositions during their upbringing. Bernard Williams argues that Aristotle’s theory of moral education undermines belief in objective values. In response to Williams, Julia Annas argues that Aristotle does not ground ethics in the external point of view, but rather in the desires and commitments that people already have. In this thesis, I argue that Aristotle held the view to which Williams objects and that Williams’ objection fails. Aristotle’s appeals to nature shows that he does not ground values in individual desires and commitments. Moreover, moral education does not alone undermine our confidence in the truth of our commitments.