Though the classification given by Aristotle does not fit in the modem conditions, yet it has emphasized the ethical element in judging a state. The purpose of the state, whatever its forms be, is the common good. Aristotle thus lays emphasis on an ethical or qualitative test of the state.

Points to Remember

1. Aristotle classifies states on quantitative and qualitative prin­ciples. Monarchy, aristocracy and polity are normal states whereas tyranny, oligarchy and democracy are abnormal ones.

2. Aristotle further believes that all these move in a cycle. The theory is criticized on the following grounds :


(a) Aristotle, never distinguished a state from a government. The state, in fact, cannot be classified.

(b) The terms oligarchy and democracy do not correspond to the modern usage of these words.

(c) The classification is too mechanical.

(d) The classification is in-exhaustive and does not take within its fold various forms of government which exist in the modern world.