The norms of our denominational doctrine are not 'norms'
in some (sub-)cultural or 'social' sense; they are norms in an
independent ontological sense. They can be obtained by interpreting
a certain principle or a certain version of a certain
principle. This is why we also call them "interpreted principles".
The principles themselves are, again, independent of the
cultural or social circumstances of a special time or place. If
they are said to be eternal, then because they apply to all
times or all eras; if they are said to be nontemporal, then
because their significance does not depend on any time or era in
particular. If they are said to be omnipresent then because they
apply everywhere, that is, in all places and communities; if
they are said to be nonspatial, noncultural or nonsocial, then
because their significance does not depend on any place or
community in particular.
The first two 'eternal', 'omnipresent' principles which every
normative doctrine must recognize, explicitly or implicitly, are
--as we have ascertained in the Book of Instruments-- the
principle of truth and the principle of relevance. Neither
principle, however, is metadoctrinal in that it inherently
belongs to a second-order normative doctrine dealing with the
relationship between persons and first-order normative doctrines.
Both principles are (non-meta-) doctrinal in that
they can, and ought to be, part of every first-order normative
doctrine itself, altho this does not preclude them from being
part of every normative doctrine of a higher order as well.
Insofar as a metadoctrinal principle is concerned, our own
ideology is in the first instance a first-order normative
doctrine with (non-metadoctrinal) doctrinal principles. Later,
after having discussed these doctrinal principles and the
interpretations which we shall give to them, we will turn to the
one metadoctrinal principle to be recognized in addition to
those doctrinal ones. It is the principle which underlies the
right to personhood.
The prime concern of every ideology is the ground-world and,
more particularly, the way the ground-world should be. Being
comprehensive, a denominational doctrine will also cherish ideas
about the relationships between people`s utterances or theories
and the ground-world and, perhaps, about the formal aspects of
thoughts about the ground-world. Nonetheless, the ideas about
these relationships and formal aspects are subsidiary to ground-world
questions. Even if they were not, they would not add as
much interest to the doctrine as ground-world ideas and principles,
for in general all people pay lip-service to non-ground-world
principles like truth (which governs the relationship
between utterances and the ground-world) and consistence or
coherence (as a formal aspect of theorizing). It is nonpropositional
principles or, if interpreted, nonpropositional
norms which characterize a normative doctrine more than any
propositional principle or principle of correspondence.
It may now be rejoined that everyone will also say that `e is
in favor of relevance, when asked whether `e is. No-one is
likely to admit that `e aims at irrelevance or that `e does not
care about relevance at all. This, however, is precisely the
reason why the recognition of a principle of relevance does not
mean much (if anything), that it is the interpretation of such
a principle which counts, and the version adhered to. Altho
this holds for truth, or a principle of truth, as well, the
essential difference is that truth concerns at most a correspondence
between nonpropositional and propositional reality, whereas
(discriminational) relevancy concerns actions and attitudes
in the ground-world itself. But then, we must admit too that the
role of relevancy is only of fundamental significance for
us in the ground-world. Consequently, it is the role of a
nonpropositional principle of relevance which is of fundamental
significance in a denominational doctrine like ours.