I am at that age when people try to postpone adulthood (or what is generally conceived as such). This is a time when, if one comes from a developed country, has a lot of money or is educated enough, one has many opportunities to define one’s life. I am from a poor country that suffers from chronic lack of security, spurts of hideous violence and many structural problems, but am educated enough (proof being that I can formulate this question in English, not my mother tongue) to have many opportunities when it comes to my personal/professional development. Among these different opportunities is whether or not I want to reside, and thus work, in my country of origin. Moving away would definitely lead to a richer, easier – though not necessarily happier- life, I am quite sure of it. The problem is I feel an ethical duty to work and live in and for my country. I feel that if every educated person leaves my country, we will be doing a disservice to the place where we and our loved ones are from. Brain drain...

You are right, you did not choose to be born where you were born. You say that there is nothing essential about being from a place. I'm not sure. Maybe I am premodern but I have the sense, and I know that this is pretty gauzy, that there is more of a connection between place and spirit than the constantly moving and job searching Americans believe. But the only case I could make that that you have a special duty to the place that you grew up in would be along the lines that Socrates thought of Athens - that is, as a parent that nurtured him. It also sounds as though you are not thinking simply of a piece of earth - you loved ones are there too. In that sense, you could I suppose think along Socratic lines. But that is as far as I can go. This is a very difficult choice and I can't think of any formula for resolving that will remove the anguish.

Is it moral to use brain-enhancing drugs that have no negative consequences?

A well known neuro-pharmacologist once explained that there are no free rides with drugs-- no brain enhancing drugs that don't have serious negative consequences but if there were I can't imagine what would be morally wrong with using them. Suppose, for instance, that these positive effects followed from eating a certain type of vegetable - would it be wrong to eat the plant? I don't believe so. Now, inasmuch as we often compete on the basis of mental performance, it would be nice to think that everyone had access to this drug. Suppose, for instance, that only millionaires could afford it. Would it be wrong to take it then? Maybe so. But the rich already enjoy vast advantages in the foot race of life, so I don't know that this would be any different. It would just add to the inequalities that we already live with in our society.

As far as I know, it's not illegal in football (soccer) to kick the ball really hard at someone's face if they are in the way of goal. Throwing dummies and gamesmanship are also treated as acceptable. So how exactly does agreeing on rules of a game remove normal moral constraints? I know people wouldn't be happy if I started blasting a football at their faces, but would it be morally ok?

It's not illegal but practitioners of the game would certainly be judged to be immoral if it was done with the intention of hurting someone. It is true though that we can do things in sports that would be judged to be immoral in other contexts and on this point I agree with Douglas Burnham that it is a matter of giving consent - accepting the rules of the game.

Do humans have a greater right to live than other animals? If so, would beings of much greater intelligence and perception hold that same right over humans?

I am not a vegetarian but I think I should be. I would not couch the issue in rights language but putting animals through suffering just so I can have my New York Strip Steak just seems wrong to me. Given human history, I cannot imagine what kind of arguments we humans could muster if aliens came down and proposed to us as a food source.

We all wish that we die before a person we love a LOT (our parents is an example), because we think that we'll be very sad and cry all the time. But, isn't it more moral to wish that this beloved person dies before us, so we would support the extreme sadness and not them ?

I don't think that we have a lot of control over what our wishes are. If you are asking what is the more loving wish than I suppose it would make sense to say that you would want to spare the person you love so much the pain. But I don't think these kinds of moral calculations are useful. The important thing is what you do and perhaps what kind of person you make of yourself. Again, it sure sounds as though you want to be as loving an individual as you can be. A very admirable goal.

I am firm believer that life human or animal should be preserved whenever possible. I would also like to believe that had I lived in Nazi Germany I would have stood up for the persecuted. So how can I reconcile my strong moral convictions with my inaction regarding the mass murder of animals everyday. Ironically enough I feel guilty for letting the law and the disappointment of my family stand in the way of stopping the massacre. This guilt is causing me great pain. Please enlighten me on what I should do.

I suspect that at some level you do not really believe that the slaughter of animals is at quite the same level as the halocaust, though you seem to think you think that they are equivalent. There are pletny of evils in the world that we should be protesting but I 'm not sure that torturing yourself about not doing as much as you would like helps those causes.

Why students checking facebook on class are regarded disrespectful, while a professor who checks his facebook on a symposium as another professor is reading his paper is said to be cute and cool? Are there absolute boundaries between righteous and evil, right and wrong?

These are two very different questions-- First, I would not regard the Facebook checking prof as cool. Going on to your computer while someone is giving a seminar or talk is just disrespectful. I doubt our Facebook checking prof would take kindly to someone doing the same to her as she delivered a talk that she had been working on for months. As for your other monumental question, I would suggest that while there are some acts that are clearly always wrong, there are many that might be wrong in one context and not so in another. Lying is generally wrong but if you are doing it to save an innocent life or lives? The term "boundary" is of course a metaphor that would need to be unpacked to answer your question but on the face of it (another metaphor) I don't think there is an absolute boundary between right and wrong such that we can say of every act- this one is on the righteous side- this evil. Thanks

Will it be moral to continue working for a cigarette company knowing the sickenesses that smoking creates?

No I don't think it would be moral- and yet it would also seem immoral to me, as someone with a good job, to morally condemn someone who was working for a tobacco company because it was the only decent job that he could find to take care of his family. So I would go for degrees of culpability, but yes I would have to say that being part of a business that killed millions would not exactly be a righteous line of work.