Modern philosophy experiences beings as objects [Gegenstand], It is through and for perception that the object comes to be a "standing against." As Leibniz clearly saw, percipere is like an appetite which seeks out the particular being and attacks it, in order to grasp it and wholly subsume it under a concept, relating this being's presence [Präsenz] back to the percipere (repraesentare). Repraesentatio, representation [Vorstellung], is defined as the perceptive self-arrogation (to the self as ego) of what appears.

Among the doctrines of modern philosophy there is one outstanding formulation which is unfailingly regarded as the final solution by all those who with the help of modern philosophy undertake to clarify Parmenides' saying. We mean Berkeley's proposition, which is based on the fundamental position of Descartes' metaphysics and says: esse = percipi, Being equals being represented. Being falls under the sway of representation, understood in the sense of perception. This proposition fashions the context in which the saying of Parmenides first becomes accessible to a scientific-philosophical explanation which removes it from that aura of half-poetical "presentiment" to which Presocratic thinking is usually consigned. Esse = percipi. Being is being represented. It is by virtue of representing that Being is. Being is identical with thinking insofar as the objectivity of objects is composed and constituted in the representing consciousness, in the "I think something." In light of this assertion regarding the relation between Being and thinking, the saying of Parmenides comes to be viewed as a crude prefiguring of contemporary doctrines of reality and the knowledge of reality.

It is no accident that Hegel, in his Lectures on the History of Philosophy (Works, 2d. ed., XIII, 274), translates and discusses this saying of Parmenides concerning the relation of Being and thinking:

"Thinking, and that for the sake of which there is thought, are the same. For without the beings in which it is expressed (ἐν ᾧ πεφοτασμένον ἐστιν) you will not find thinking; for thinking, without beings, is and shall be nothing." This is the main thought. Thinking produces itself, and what is produced is a thought.


Martin Heidegger (GA 7) Moira (Parmenides VIII, 34-41)