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人間とは、わからないものだ。同じ人間をゴミのように実験に使うと思えば、神仏のような情けですべてを救おうとも考える。

I've come across this in a novel. The last part of the second sentence is confusing for me. I've read that volitional should not be used after grammars like (か)と思えば. As I understand, second sentence should literally mean "Just when I thought that humans use their own kind like trash for experiments, there are also those who try to (think about) save (saving) everyone with unbelievable compassion" (a main character was thinking how to save his classmates that had been experimented upon, and at this moment a man appears and says the aforementioned line), however I’m not sure because of volitional being used at the end.

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    I've never heard of (and am skeptical of there being) any rule against using a volitional after (か)と思えば. There's nothing wrong with the 救おうとも考える at the end there. Your translation indicates a good understanding of the Japanese both in that regard and in general. – goldbrick Mar 31 '18 at 7:23
  • Oh, then I may have misunderstood the part about volitional not being used after (か)と思えば. Thank you! – Alex Mar 31 '18 at 15:47
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The sentence has the structure:

「[Sentence A]かと思えば、[Sentence B]。」
"Just when I thought [Sentence A], [Sentence B]."

You could parse it this way:

[同じ人間をゴミのように実験に使う(=A)]かと思えば、[神仏のような情けで『すべてを救おう』とも考える(=B)]。

(I think it should be と思えば, not と思えば.)

The volitional 救おう is part of a quotation. すべてを救おう is what humans think, not the speaker of this sentence. (The subject of とも考える is humans, not the speaker of this sentence.)

"Just when I thought [(A:) humans use their own kind like trash for experiments], [(B:) they also think of saving everyone with godlike benevolence]."

  • Checked again, it was just と思えば after all, but I've seen that か could be omitted (though don’t know if there’s some rule about that or not). Seems like I didn’t read carefully or misunderstood something about volitional after (か)と思えば. Thanks for the answer! – Alex Mar 31 '18 at 16:55

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