[Greek: boundless] A term in pre-Socratic Greek philosophy, introduced by the materialist Ionian philosopher Anaximander. It refers to the boundless, originally formless, ever-moving flux of nature, from which all worlds and physical objects as we know them today have arisen. It seems that this was an early attempt to form something like the conception that Marx and Engels referred to as “matter in motion”, though it is perhaps meant to be more like the original or primitive matter in motion.
Anaximander thought that there needed to be some principle (or peras) of order to render this original apeiron into the worlds and objects that we see today. He called this primary principle the arché. Apparently he considered the essence of this principle to be that of the struggle of opposites, since that is how Anaximander viewed the world and its objects as having arisen from the apeiron.
This is the jargon being used in the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA for the following mouthful: “The culture of appreciation, promotion, and popularization around the leadership, the body of work and the method and approach of Bob Avakian.” AP&P is thus a short-hand reference to what most people would simply call the ghastly personality cult which the RCP has created around its leader Bob Avakian.
1. [In religion:] Renunciation of religious faith.
2. [In intellectual or political matters:] The renuciation or abandonment of a previous intellectual or political viewpoint, or defection to an opposing viewpoint.
A person who renounces their previous faith or viewpoint is called an apostate.
“... every philosophy of the past without exception was accused by the theologians of apostasy...” —Marx, leading article in the Kölnische Zeitung, # 179, 1842. [Marx’s point being that religion opposed all philosophical thought and progress.]
APPEAL TO REASON
An important newspaper of the American Socialist movement which was founded in Kansas in 1895. During World War I it took up an internationalist position which brought it under government attack. It ceased publication in 1919.
APPEARANCE AND ESSENCE
“We should draw a lesson here: Don’t be misled by false appearances. Some of our comrades are easily misled by them. There is contradiction between appearance and essence in everything. It is by analyzing and studying the appearance of a thing that people come to know its essence. Hence the need for science. Otherwise, if one could get at the essence of a thing by intuition, what would be the use of science? What would be the use of study? Study is called for precisely because there is contradiction between appearance and essence. There is a difference, though, between the appearance and the false appearance of a thing, because the latter is false. Hence we draw the lesson: Try as far as possible not to be misled by false appearances.” —Mao, "Speeches at the National Conference of the Communist Party of China: Concluding Speech" (March 31, 1955), SW 5:165-6.
The recognition and sensitive awareness of the aesthetic values in a work of art or other thing (such as a natural phenomenon).
An increase in price or exchange value.
APTHEKER, Herbert (1915-2003)
A historian specializing in African-American history, and a long-time leader of the revisionist Communist Party, USA. His book American Negro Slave Revolts (1943) was pathbreaking and important, but it seems he was never really a revolutionary Marxist.
Aptheker joined the CPUSA in 1939, and remained loyal to it until 1991, when at around the time of the collapse of the revisionist Soviet Union he left with the social-democratic breakaway group, the Committees of Correspondence. He strongly defended Soviet social-imperialism in 1956 when it invaded Hungary, and again in 1968 when it invaded Czechoslovakia.
After the death of Aptheker and his wife, his daughter Bettina wrote a book [Intimate Politics (2006)] in which she claimed that her father had repeatedly sexually molested her from the age of 4 until the age of 13—but that she had not remembered this until writing that book! We may not know what to believe about that accusation, but we can be very sure that Herbert Aptheker was definitely a revisionist.
An underground supply of water in permeable rock, sand or gravel. One of the outrageous things about capitalist society is that in the pursuit of short-term profits it is using up or destroying many of the natural products and features of the world without regard to the future needs of humanity. And this includes the rapid depletion and pollution of aquifers much faster than natural forces can replace or purify them.
The map at the right shows the huge natural Ogallala Aquifer in the Great Plains states of the U.S. It has a surface area of 174,000 square miles, which is double the size of all the Great Lakes combined (although the aquifer is fairly shallow and the Great Lakes are deep). About 30 percent of the aquifer’s water has already been pumped out of the ground and an additional 39 percent is expected to be gone in the next 50 years. Nature would require millennia to replenish it. The colored areas show the huge regions which have already been pumped completely dry, or which will be so in coming decades. This is yet further proof that capitalism simply cannot be trusted to maintain the world in a livable condition for the benefit of the people.
AQUINAS, Thomas (1225-74)
The most important Scholastic philosopher and theologian of the Roman Catholic Church, which after his death declared him to be a “saint”. The religious philosophy school of thought deriving mainly from his doctrines is called “Thomism”.
See also: Philosophical doggerel about Aquinas.
Dictionary Home Page and Letter Index
MASSLINE.ORG Home Page