Wednesday, February 10, 2010

BHL vs Botulism

Because I love the French in all of their philosophical playfulness!

L'hommage des Amis de Botul à BHL (Mediapart)
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Charles Bremner - Times Online - WBLG: Bernard-Henri Lévy comes a cropper with fake philosopher

Frédéric Pagès (born 1950) is a French journalist noted for his work with the satirical weekly, Le Canard enchaîné. He wrote two books of spoof philosophy under the name Jean-Baptiste Botul:

  • La Vie sexuelle d'Emmanuel Kant. Éditions Mille et une nuits. 1999.
  • Nietzsche ou le démon de midi. Éditions Mille et une nuits. 2004.

He founded the "Association of Friends of Jean-Baptiste Botul" to promote this fictious philosopher and his school of "Botulism". In 2010, the hoax caught out the well-known philosopher Bernard-Henri Lévy, whose book De la guerre en philosophie used Botul as the primary source for his attack on Kant.


  1. What am I not getting here? BHL used an argument. He hilariously credited a wrong source, which is sloppy work perhaps, but it does not make the argument wrong. Who cares who wrote it, or if no one did at all? If you would find out that Immanuel Kant never existed, and that his philosophy was an elaborate joke perpetrated by Fritz Joseph-Mcdonald of Sweinstaadt in Bavaria, would that affect your assessment of his philosophy? Did no one note the “death of the author” lately? Butol is as legitimate as any biological philosopher—in fact, probably superior to some (bravo Pagés).
    By the way, J Write doesn't exist either--he's a made-up character I just made up. Pray do not let this effect the manifest veracity of "his" words!

    J Write

  2. My dear Anonymous JWrite, I couldn't agree with you more, as my stated love of French philosophical playfulness hinted, and also recall Sartre, reacting to revelations that his work was based on his own false translations from the German, replied that what he, however, had DONE with it was fantastic. Let us indeed consider what is to be considered....