If a person chooses to drink alcohol in order to become more violent, should philosophers/society blame alcohol as "the evil substance," the drinker himself for not understanding the meaning of life, or society for not helping the person overcome alcohol consumption the first place?

Alcohol, not being sentient, can’t seriously be considered evil or blameworthy in the way many people (not including me) think some humans or other sentient beings can be. It is probably more fruitful to forget about blame and think instead in terms of causes and possible solutions. If the person drinks and succeeds in becoming more violent as a result, then alcohol is a cause. But attempting to deprive this individual of alcohol would probably not achieve much in the way of solving the problems. The immediate causes of the person’s choosing to drink would be his own mental states: his beliefs, desires, hopes, fears and so on. Some of the causes of those might be internal the individual: an imbalance of chemicals in the brain, or a lack of certain neural structures, perhaps. And some will lie in the individual’s social environment. A detailed case study would be required to get the full story, and to determine what, if anything, could be done to make matters better.

Can reading Schopenhauer cure sex/lust addiction? If it can, do philosophers think that normative ethics ought to be therapeutic?

there is some potentially relevant empirical material here: http://www.faculty.ucr.edu/~eschwitz/ in the section: The Relationship Between Moral Reflection and Moral Behavior:

Why do so many atheists think that other atheists "ought" to be a humanist, or at least care about animal rights, environmental protection, left-wing politics, and so on? Isn't this both a psychological cognitive dissonance and a philosophical naturalistic fallacy? I think even David Hume would consider a religious person be more inclined to support those causes since they have sacred and textual norms to follow whereas the atheist has none.

I am far from convinced that a particularly large number of atheists think that other atheists "ought" to be a humanist, or at least care about animal rights, environmental protection, left-wing politics, and so on. Do you have any evidence for this idea? I am also puzzled by the suggestion of a naturalistic fallacy. You seem to be attributing to this possibly imaginary large number of atheists some kind of argument that they are supposed to put forward. But you do not say what it is. There are many religions and many religious people and many different sacred and textual norms saying or implying completely different things about animal rights etc., many inconsistent with others. And these are followed in many different ways by different people. Atheists do not tend to follow sacred texts. But there are large numbers of texts about about animal rights, environmental protection, left-wing politics, and so on that have nothing whatever to do with religion.

The act of dealing arms is not morally wrong - it is argued. What is wrong is the use these arms are put to once traded. Can the same argument be applied to drug dealing?

I am not sure who argues that the act of dealing arms is not morally wrong. It looks like a bad argument to me. If you sell someone arms, then you have no guarantee that they won't use them to kill people illegitimately. In fact, often, that is just what happens. So it is imoral to deal arms. A parallel argument applies to drug dealing.

My teacher said all violence ever does is create more violence, and that even if you use violence for good you're doing nothing long term. What do you think? Larry, 16, NJ

I think that that is a very good rule of thumb. Humans often react to violence by retaliating. Hence many of the absurd feuds and wars that go on. Of course, one can think up exceptions. But they are rare.

What do we owe to people who don't yet exist? Intuitively, it seems to me that we shouldn't, say, cause widespread damage to earth because it will so valuable to our descendants. But can we really be said to be doing something wrong to someone who doesn't exist? And would it be wrong to do something that would cause them never to exist in the first place? It seems that if we can do moral harm to future people, but it isn't wrong to cause them to never exist, then it morally superior to never have children rather to bring children into the world in which you have done the *slightest* damage. (The children, of course, would disagree.) But if it is wrong to cause them to never exist-and, since they would drastically prefer to exist-then we have a tremendous burden to reproduce as much as possible. If it make any difference, I am interested in how these question relates to our burden to reduce catastrophic/existential risks to the human species (global warming, nuclear war, gray goo, etc.).

That's a lot of difficult questions! First: I think we can do wrongto people who don't yet exist. It seems unfair to be less respectful ofsomeone who will be born in, say, 2020 than someone who was born in,say, 1995. Second: it is not obvious that your second question makesmuch sense. You can't do wrong to a being who doesn't exist, never hasexisted and never will exist, simply because there are no such beings!A future being isn't yet around to be harmed, but will be later. But non-existent beings aren't there to be harmed. You go on toconsider a conditional: 'if ... it isn't wrong to cause them never toexist ...' where 'them' is supposed to refer to future people. But ifwe cause there to be no future people then 'them' doesn't refer andthere is no issue about harming them. Still one might wantto argue that we have a duty not to make the planet uninhabitablebecause we have a duty to our species. I am not sure how to justifythat, but the thought seems to have some intuitive appeal.