This glossary has been provided as an easy reference for some of the more uncommon and technical words and concepts used in this paper, and to clarify the Maoist understanding and use of certain philosophical and scientific terms. Some of the more complex concepts listed below cannot truly be adequately explained in such a concise format, but to facilitate the study of the document , we have nonetheless provided very brief, capsulized explanations and/or direction to other sources. We encourage further exploration on the part of the reader.
alienable: capable of being sold or transferred.
contextualization: putting something (e.g., a work of literature, an action, a concept, etc.) in a context, especially one that is appropriate, as for purposes of study or analysis.
Biodeterminism: is determinism in the field of biology, the study of living things. Determinism in general is the view that things are rigidly "set" on a fixed or preordained path. There are a number of trends among biologists (as well as anthropologists, psychologists and others) that can be described as biodeterminist. All of them argue, one way or another, that even the most complex individual behavior and social characteristics are determined by biological and genetic factors, ignoring or underappreciating other factors and levels of organization. This is particularly a problem when applied to human behavior and society. These trends are all reductionist (see entry below on reductionism as well as sociobiology).
dialectical and historical materialism: The scientific and philosophic outlook and method of Maoists which describes material reality and how to change it. We would direct the reader to the following sources: "Marxism-Leninism-Maoism," by the RCP,USA, first published in RW 470 (8/29/88), also available at rwor.org. Also see Bob Avakian, Mao's Immortal Contributions, Chapter 4 on Philosophy.
hedonism: pleasure seeking as a way of life or viewing it as the highest good.
intrinsic: of or relating to the essential nature of a thing; inherent.
juridical: of or pertaining to law or jurisprudence; legal.
male right: the position of dominance of men in relation to women and the privileges and prerogatives that accompany this domination.
malleability: the ability to be easily shaped or molded in new ways. Not rigidly set or determined. Clay is very malleable. See also plasticity.
misandry: the hatred (despising and devaluation) of men.
misogyny: the hatred (despising and devaluation) of women.
obscurantism: opposition to the increase and spread of knowledge; the clouding of knowledge, and of the pursuit of knowledge, with superstition, prejudice, etc.
ossify: to become rigid or inflexible in habits, attitudes, opinions, etc.: a young man who began to ossify right after college.
plasticity: the ability to be flexible and readily change and adapt to new circumstances or conditions. The human species shows tremendous behavioral malleability and plasticity. This means that human beings, instead of being born rigidly "hard-wired" and forced to stick to the same behavioral patterns over and over again, are in fact born with a tremendous ability to constantly change and adapt to new circumstances, and to learn new things throughout the course of their lives, especially through their social interactions with other humans.
prerogative: a right, privilege, etc., limited to a specific person or to persons of a particular category: It was the teacher's prerogative to stop the discussion.
proscribed: condemned and/or outlawed.
reductionism: Particularly in the sciences (such as biology), a theory and method that argues that every complex phenomenon can best be explained by analyzing the simplest and most basic physical mechanisms and/or elements that make up the phenomenon. Reductionists mechanically (and undialectically) try to "reduce" or "boil down" very complex things to the features of some of these simpler, underlying parts. It is also an incorrect method and outlook in philosophy overall, and analysis in general, and typically describes the world in terms of a few narrowly defined factors, oversimplifying complex ideas, issues, conditions, etc. to the point of minimizing, obscuring or distorting them.
Reductionism: generally involves ignoring the different levels that taken together in fact make up a phenomenon or process. This method often treats one aspect of a phenomenon as if it's the only aspect and reduces that complex phenomenon or process to just that one aspect taken by itself. And this is a problem even where the aspect in question is the main aspect of the phenomenon or process.
salient: prominent or conspicuous: salient traits.
sociobiology: Sociobiology is the prevailing and most comprehensive form of biodeterminism (see entry above) today. As defined by Levins and Lewontin, "The central assertion of sociobiology is that all aspects of human culture and behavior, like the behavior of all animals, are coded in the genes and have been molded by natural selection." [For a more developed discussion of this question see, for instance Gould, Mismeasure of Man; Lewontin, Rose and Kamin, Not in Our Genes; Skybreak, A. Of Primeval Steps and Future Leaps and her review of Not in Our Genes, Revolution magazine, #53.]
sovereignty: rightful status, independence or prerogative.
substrate: something that underlies or serves as a basis or foundation.
vitriolic: very burning, scathing: vitriolic criticism.