Essay: Stand Out of Our Light by James Williams

This examination is worth 150 points. You should submit your work as a single file, with each response marked clearly. The format, otherwise, is up to you. Please aim to make your submission readable.

The examination divides into three section, as follows.

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Section 1: Short Essays

Provide a brief response to each prompt. An outstanding response provides examples to illustrate abstract claims, and offers a thorough explanation of those claims.

1.In Chapter 2, Williams makes a distinction between “real goals, humans goals” and “low-level engagement goals.” Explain the distinction (in the abstract, and with examples) and why the distinction matters.
2.At the end of Chapter 6, Williams distinguishes between three kinds of attention: spotlight, starlight, and daylight. Explain the differences among these kinds of attention (in the abstract, and with examples), and why the distinctions matter.
3.In Chapter 12, Williams proposes, as one tactic for addressing the harms of persuasive design, that we rethink advertising. Explain why he thinks the current approach to advertising is unsatisfactory, what he thinks the purpose of advertising ought to be, and at least one idea he has for reorienting the way advertising works so that advertising is more ethical.
4.Select an idea from Williams’ book that you do not discuss elsewhere on this examination. Explain the idea, why you think the idea is interesting, and whether/why you find the idea plausible.


Section 2: Extended Essay

Provide an essay that responds to the each component of the following prompt.

Williams claims that there is a “deep misalignment between the goals we have for ourselves and the goals our technologies have for us” (page 9). He goes on to argue, in subsequent chapters, that this misalignment is dangerous.

1.What is his argument for thinking that the misalignment is dangerous? (Note: This is not asking you to give his argument for thinking that the misalignment exists.) Be sure to clearly identify the main premises of William’s argument, and to provide evidence relevant to supporting each of those premises.
2.Develop an objection to the claim that the misalignment of goals is dangerous. The objection should take the form of a concise argument with clearly discernible premises, and you should provide supporting evidence for each premise of the argument.
3.Develop a reply, on behalf of Williams, to the objection you formulated. The reply should take the form of a concise argument that has, at its conclusion, the denial of one of the central premises in the argument for the objection, and it should provide supporting evidence for each premise of this argument.

Section 3: Reflection Essay

This course has five objectives:

1.Recognize philosophical problems, issues, and questions about technology.
2.Understand philosophical methodology.
3.Know important philosophical arguments, objections, and positions.
4.Construct and evaluate positions and objections.
5.Discuss with others, in a charitable and reason-driven manner, significant concerns about how technology affects our lives.
Discuss how well you have achieved three of these objectives. Your discussion should mention specifics of your performance in the course.

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