J. Barnes says: "Berkeley's argument is in direct line of descent from Parmenides” (The Presocratic Philosophers, p171). This sentence shows up right after he interpreted what Parmenides means by "For the same thing is there both to be thought of and to be". He adduces Berkeley’s argument for his notorious idealism : “ … surely there is nothing easier than to imagine trees, for instance, in a park, or books existing in a closet….but do not you yourself perceive or think of them all the while?”

Is Barnes as quoted above accurate that Parmenides argues for the same thing and in the same way as Berkeley does through those words?


I do not agree. Parmenides did not understand thinking as entirely divorced from being the way most of us do today. The use of the word "imagine" (above) illustrates the distance we've come since Socrates. If we were to compare Parmenides to any "modern" philosopher, I'd probably pick Kant, not Berkeley. Check out www.aletheia.ws/parmenides for a group of essays that address these issues in a more systematic way.


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