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    #1

    consequences be what they may

    "People gestured towards reasons having to do with intrinsic quality of the act itself ,consequences be what they may."
    How to understand "consequences be what they may"?
    Thanks .

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    #2

    Re: consequences be what they may

    It means ", whatever the consequences are (or will be)/ whether they are good or bad, etc.". It's the present subjunctive - the consequences are unknown, and even the act is hypothetical.
    Is there any context for what the 'reasons' are? Reasons for what?

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    #3

    Re: consequences be what they may

    Quote Originally Posted by Raymott View Post
    It means ", whatever the consequences are (or will be)/ whether they are good or bad, etc.". It's the present subjunctive - the consequences are unknown, and even the act is hypothetical.
    Is there any context for what the 'reasons' are? Reasons for what?
    It's a quote from a harvard open course about moral principles. There're two types of moral principles ,consequentialist moral principle and categorical moral principle, according to the course. The first one locates morality in consequences that will result from your action,whereras the second one focuses on intrinsic quality of the act itself, regardless of the consequences. The quote is about the second moral principle.
    So is the expression "be what they may " commonly used? Can you give some other examples?Thank you.
    Last edited by masterding; 02-Jul-2014 at 09:03.

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    #4

    Re: consequences be what they may

    Yes, that's right. The consequentialist view began with Utilitarianism and the categorical principal is Kant's - though the Greeks also had something to say about it.
    Kant held that certain things are categorically wrong, eg. lying. The famous example is that if a murderer came to your home looking for someone who you had hiding there, and asked "Is he here?", you must, by the Categorical Imperative, say 'yes' - come what may. Very few people are Kantians, but many hold similar views about Divine Command theory - though few actual practice it.
    What other examples do you want? "Come what may", means "whatever happens as a result."
    "I'm going to ride my motorcycle at 160km/h, come what may." - I'm going to do it, regardless of the result.
    "I'm going to marry, John - come what may." You could also phrase it as "Let come what will" - another subjunctive.

    PS: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=APzYBz8V7gA

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    #5

    Re: consequences be what they may

    The one view is that you don't murder people because you could get caught and put in jail or be put to death.

    The other is that you don't murder people because it's wrong.

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    #6

    Re: consequences be what they may

    Quote Originally Posted by SoothingDave View Post
    The one view is that you don't murder people because you could get caught and put in jail or be put to death.

    The other is that you don't murder people because it's wrong.
    I would say one view is that you murder people because it saves more people.
    The other is that you don't murder people because it's wrong.

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    #7

    Re: consequences be what they may

    Quote Originally Posted by masterding View Post
    I would say one view is that you murder people because it saves more people.
    The other is that you don't murder people because it's wrong.
    I don't know what you means by "saves more people." I was illustrating the two theories.

    I assume you have not murdered anyone. Is that because you are afraid of the consequences if you are caught, or because of some moral code you prescribe to that tells you it is wrong?

    If government and order suddenly collapsed, would you go on a crime spree?

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    #8

    Re: consequences be what they may

    In the course the example about Utilitarianism is the famous "Queen versus Dudley and Stephens" case. The case is about for men caught in a shipwreck ,and stranded in a lifeboat without food or water. Dudley was the captain. Steven was the first mate. Brooks was the sailor.The cabin boy , Parker ,was 17 year old orphan.In this dire circumstance ,someone must die to save others. Dudley proposed a lottery draw,but Brooks refused .Finally Dudley decided that the cabin boy must die, because he was an orphan. so they killed Parker , and the rest survived.Of course they were arrested and tried , but public sympathy was almost entirely on the side of the "cannibals". The core of the Utilitarianism is to maximizes the overall level of happiness.
    Last edited by masterding; 02-Jul-2014 at 17:39.

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    #9

    Re: consequences be what they may

    Quote Originally Posted by SoothingDave View Post
    I don't know what you means by "saves more people." I was illustrating the two theories.

    I assume you have not murdered anyone. Is that because you are afraid of the consequences if you are caught, or because of some moral code you prescribe to that tells you it is wrong?

    If government and order suddenly collapsed, would you go on a crime spree?
    Your theories are great, but I think they are somewhat about law and morality .But Raymott and I are talking about Utilitarianism and the categorical principal .
    We are talking about different theories. Thank you so much ,SoothingDave.

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    #10

    Re: consequences be what they may

    Well, this isn't an ethics forum, but Dave is right, as you are too. Not all consequentialist theories are utilitarianism. It's true that utilitarianism says that the right action is the one that makes the most people happy (so you get to kill one person if by doing so, you can save 5). An example is the doctor with five patients who needs various transplants, A pure utilitarian could kill one healthy person, harvest their organs and save the other five. But is that the basis for an ethics that we want? Hence consequentialism, which takes in all consequences, (not just the greatest happiness for greatest number) including the fact that you've killed an innocent person.
    You are talking about classical utilitarianism ala Bentham and John Stuart Mill, while Dave is talking about a wider and more realistic consequentialism.
    In any case, I trust the English problem is solved.

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