The above argument about having working fire alarms in one's house is not really "controversial" because it addresses an almost universal concern of not wanting to die of smoke inhalation, and it is argued that working fire alarms can prevent it. But other arguments we will encounter in philosophy have conclusions which run contrary to statements which you may already believe, perhaps strongly. In these cases it is very important to carefully read what the argument states and the reasons given for it. You should never argue for or against a given argument for a reason not actually given by the author! To illustrate what I mean by this statement, consider this example of an argument and a bad counter argument:

Argument: When we die, we no longer are able to think or experience anything, since experience and thinking have been shown to be the products of a working brain. Change brain chemistry or slice out parts of the brain, and we no longer think or perceive the world the same. Neuroscience has clearly demonstrated the connection between the workings of a brain and thinking and experience – just consider the many examples of antidepressant drugs or the success of anesthesia to turn off experience during a major surgery or the effect of a lobotomy, to name just a few. It is unreasonable to believe that brain processes which lead to thinking and experience continue when the brain is no longer working or functioning, which is the case when we die.




What is the conclusion to the above argument?