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Additional resources for Aristotle on Equality and Justice: His Political Argument
He continues the argument by maintaining that the excellence of citizens is relative not only to a given constitution, but also to the different stations and offices within a state. e. slaves, mechanics and labourers) are necessary conditions of a state, without always being integral parts of a civil community in the sense of sharing in the public administration. From this he concludes that just as there are various constitutions, so there are various kinds of members of a body politic: in one, mechanics and labourers are citizens; in another, not.
51 From this argument it follows that the ethical criterion which differentiates between 'right' constitutions is the nature of the laws appropriate to each. The point is further demonstrated in the Politics, Book III, Chapter 9, where (as we have seen) Aristotle affirms that the principle of each constitution lies in its particular conception of justice, and that this is therefore also the ground for the basic difference between oligarchy and democracy. Aristotle's last qualitative distinction between democracy and oligarchy is the one from which I started, that democracy is the rule of the poor (rather than the many) and oligarchy that of the rich (rather than the few).
16 A characteristic of all common terms is that they are peculiar to no one special scientific discipline ('topic-neutral', as Gilbert Ryle has called them), 17 but are common to (or, as Ryle puts it, 'pervade') them all. In a similar way, J. L. Austin 18 speaks of'the same', 'one', 'real', 'good', as substantive-hungry or dimension-words. His reason for the terminology is that the words in question do not have one single and identical meaning like 'yellow', 'horse' or 'walk', but are general in application and are in fact the most comprehensive terms.