Identified happiness with


Hi everyone,

Please help me with this one question:

"For Bentham it was obvious that the human good consists of pleasure and the absence of pain. The Greek philisopher Aristotle may have identified happiness with self-realisation in the 4th century BC."

It is an extract from an IELTS Reading passage. Please help to explain what the underlined portion and in particular "self-realisation" means. Is this "Through his own self-reflection, Aristotle gave happiness another definition"? Does the "identify A with B" ever have such kind of meaning?

Thank you for your help!
  • dojibear

    Senior Member
    English - Northeast US
    I do not think they are talking about the word "happiness" and its definition. Aristotle spoke another language.

    I think "identify" means "connect". Bentham says that Aristotle said "What makes a person happy? Self-realization makes them happy."

    "Self-realization" is a modern buzzword. Roughly it means "understanding yourself".


    @dojibear Thank you for your reply. The passage talks about definitions of happiness given by different thinkers, including Bentham and Aristotle.

    I find your explanation (kind of connection between happiness and self-realization) much more reasonable than what I thought, however I still wonder whether the structure "identify A with B" might have the meaning of "Through B, A is identified"?
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