It is clear that determinism can give a logically valid account of human behavior; it is a viable theory of human action. But it seems that if determinism, or at least a deterministic account of behavior that precludes free will, is true, much of what we hold very valuable in most if not all human cultures (e.g. love; trust; the value of the person; etc.) is all an illusion. I, for example, do not freely place a value on my wife and love her because of this value; my "love" is a product of my genes, or my psychological history. Similarly, it also seems to me that atheistic accounts of the origin of morality (e.g. a need to survive and get along better to propagate our genes) are plausible, but likewise seem to remove deeper meanings involved in moral behavior (e.g. I choose not to murder someone because I find it violates, in some sense, a universal moral law that I could be held accountable for at some point now, or perhaps even after my death). I am not sure what philosophers who have discussed these issues have called this, but I can call it here "devaluing theory", the idea that some philosophical (and scientific) views of human culture (including human behavior) devalue much of what humans consider deeply meaningful in life. Do these concerns, the devaluing of human culture, give us good reasons to think that determinism, or at least complete determinism, as well as ethics grounded in the need for human survival, are not true?

A great question, which deserves a longer response than I have time for now! But just a very general response: how could concerns about what we value give us a grounds for determining what's true with respect to determinism? Determinism seems, as you've sketched it, to be a kind of scientific thesis -- it's up to science to figure out whether there are deterministic laws of nature which govern our bodies and brains and behavior, I would think. The fact that we may not like the result -- that determinism might challenge our pre-existing set of values -- hardly seems relevant as to whether the result is correct. Where philosophers step in, of course, is in judging whether in fact the determinism revealed by science WOULD or NEED challenge our values, in the way you've sketched -- but it isn't obvious to me that the philosophical activity would be relevant to the 'scientific' question of whether determinism is true.

best,

ap

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