In the October 2019 Philosophy in the Library, co-presented by Brooklyn Public Philosophers and curated by Ian Olasov, Jennifer Morton discusses upward mobility in education. Upward mobility through higher education has been an article of faith for generations of working-class, low-income, and immigrant college students. While we know this path usually entails financial sacrifices and hard work, very little attention has been paid to the deep personal compromises such students have to make as they enter worlds vastly different from their own.

Measuring the true cost of higher education for those from disadvantaged backgrounds requires that we look at the ethical dilemmas of upward mobility—the broken ties with family and friends, the severed connections with former communities, and the loss of identity—faced by students as they strive to earn a successful place in society. In this unique Philosophy in the Library, Morton asks, Why are students from disadvantaged backgrounds disproportionately burdened with these costs? And how can institutions of higher education contend with them?

Jennifer Morton is associate professor of philosophy at City College and the CUNY Graduate Center, and she will be starting at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill in January 2020. Parents and kids will know her as the resident philosopher on WNYC's Pickle podcast. Her book, Moving Up Without Losing Your Way: The Ethical Costs of Upward Mobility, is out now from Princeton University Press.

Philosophy in the Library is supported by Brooklyn Public Library’s Fund for the Humanities.

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