This paper examines John Scottus Eriugena's account of material bodies. Some scholars have argued that Eriugena's account prefigures Berkeleyan idealism. The interpretation offered in the paper rejects the Berkeleyan interpretation on the grounds that Eriugena, unlike Berkeley, did not propose a thoroughly immaterialist view of reality.
ABSTRACT: In a seminal article on the origin of philosophical idealism in the western philosophical tradition, Myles Burnyeat argued that idealism could not have come about prior to Descartes. According to Burnyeat, Descartes introduced a radical version of external world scepticism which made it possible for subsequent philosophers to argue that reality is composed exclusively of immaterial minds and their contents. I argue that the success of Burnyeatidealisms definitions of the term does not rule out the possibility of Pre-Cartesian idealism.