TRINPsite 55.03.7 - 55.03.7  
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Without a normative principle any focus of relevancy would be equally acceptable. And without such a principle any distinction could be made relevant, unless the same distinction would already have been drawn in the focus of relevance itself. (But in the absence of any principle applying to the determinant to be selected, other than the principle of relevance itself, it would be very difficult to find another suitable candidate to warrant the distinction in question.) That a comprehensive normative doctrine does need one or more principles governing the choice of focuses needs no further explanation, but why should it be the principle of catenated neutrality? This question consists of two parts: firstly, why should the normative principle concerned be a catenical principle; and secondly, why should according to this principle neutrality be superior to polarity (other things being equal)?

Nonexclusivist ground-world principles do not distinguish between primary things (or parts of things) as primary things per se; if they do distinguish between primary things, then indirectly because of a predicate they have, but which they do not have as a matter of logical necessity. A nonexclusivist ground-world principle merely distinguishes between the one predicate and the other. Now, such a predicate may be determinative or nondeterminative, proper or improper, privative or nonprivative, and catenated or noncatenated. Since a normative principle must inform us of what a primary thing ought to be and/or do, the predicate in question should at least be determinative. Moreover, the principle must also inform us adequately in terms of our ontology what a thing should be and/or do, and therefore it must be definable in such a way that it solely refers to proper predicates or to sets of proper predicates. This will also dispose of pseudopredicates like belonging-to-a-certain-class-of-primary-things or having-certain-primary-things-as-component-parts. (Being-male and being-female are notorious examples of such pseudopredicates.) It need not yet automatically dispose of an improper predicate like catenality, for catenality is having a proper, catenated predicate. Nonetheless, the fact that there does not really exist a predicate of catenality may already be sufficient reason not to believe in any normative principle of catenality. It need not automatically dispose of privative predicates either, particularly those which are the negation of a proper predicate, for the principle might just lay down what a primary thing should not be or do.

A noncatenical ultimate ground-world principle would prescribe that a primary thing ought to have the one noncatenated, nonnormative predicate rather than the or an other of the same noncatenical aspect. (Altho it may also on the basis of a catenical principle be better to have the one noncatenated predicate rather than the or an other, this would merely be so for derivative, not for ultimate, reasons.) A truly noncatenical aspect has two predicates which are each other`s negation; if it has more than two, it can either be subdivided into such aspects, or there is actually a catenary ordering principle underlying it. In the event that the principle of ordering the noncatenical predicates is in fact catenary, the normative principle concerned is ultimately a catenical one (assuming that the normative value of the noncatenated predicates is determined by the position they occupy on the basis of the ordering principle). In the event that an aspect is truly noncatenical, the quantity in the determinant concerned is binary, and one of the two predicates privative. A catenical aspect, too, has a privative predicate (namely the noncatenality), but besides this, it has at least three proper, nonprivative predicates (the catenated ones). One could say that the value of the determinant is 0 for the privative predicate and 1 for the nonprivative one; if the aspect is catenical, 0 for noncatenality, 1 for catenality.

Some might now argue that in the case of a noncatenical aspect the nonprivative predicate is normatively superior to the privative predicate, because the nonprivative predicate 'is' something, and the privative one nothing. The analog in the case of catenical aspects is that catenality is having something (that is, having a proper predicate), whereas noncatenality is having nothing. But if a privative predicate is nothing --which is correct--, then it is not inferior either. And if a nonprivative predicate is the only thing of an aspect, there is nothing it could be superior to. It might be replied that it is the person or other thing having the nonprivative predicate which is superior (good in a motivational sense, for instance), but then existence cannot be the reason why it would be, because such a person or other thing would exist nevertheless, regardless of its having the nonprivative predicate or not. This argument from the normative superiority of existence is as nonsensical as the historical argument that a perfect being exists because existence itself is supposed to be a mode of perfection. Evil exists too, and unfortunately its existence is not to be preferred to its absence. (On such a preposterous schema something like killing nonpersonal sentient beings would in itself be normatively superior to not killing them, that is, doing nothing.)

There does not seem to be any reason why a noncatenated ground-world predicate would in itself be normatively superior to a noncatenated predicate of the same aspect, or even why catenality would be normatively superior to noncatenality, or vice versa. That is, there does not seem to be any doctrinal, ground-world principle to this effect which is universal and ultimate. Only so far as particular noncatenical aspects are concerned may there be very good reasons to consider the one noncatenated predicate better than the other. Isn`t fulfilling a promise, for instance, normatively superior to not fulfilling one, or not stealing better than stealing? Altho we must agree with this, such does not prove, or even make plausible, that keeping-a-promise and not-stealing are prescribed by ultimate noncatenical principles. Stealing is even no purely descriptive or factual-modal notion and thus cannot even be the subject of a correctly formulated normative principle. An analysis of stealing or property will make a principle of not stealing a derivative one, that is to say, a principle based upon other ultimate principles (one being the metadoctrinal principle underlying the right to personhood). And even tho keeping a promise can be analyzed in purely factual-modal terms, adopting an ultimate principle of promise-keeping is an arbitrary ad hoc procedure. We will see that such a principle can be founded in the ultimate (non-ground-world) principle of truth and a derivative (ground-world) principle of beneficence, and that we do not have to introduce it as an additional ultimate principle.

We still do need a catenical ultimate doctrinal ground-world principle to justify our choices of determinants of discriminational relevance, and to justify our interpretation of the principle of discriminational relevance itself. Granted that we have already adopted the noncatenical metadoctrinal principle, and the noncatenical principles of truth and relevance, there is no need for an ultimate doctrinal ground-world principle which is noncatenical as well.

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Model of Neutral-Inclusivity
Book of Fundamentals
The Norm of Neutrality