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Bernard-Henri Levy quoted from fake philosopher

10th February 2010

One of France's leading intellectuals has revealed that he quoted a fake philosopher in his latest book.

In a statement on his La Regle du Jeu magazine's website, Bernard-Henri Levy admitted that he has often quoted from Jean-Baptiste Botul in lectures to support his attacks on German philosopher Immanuel Kant and included insights from the thinker in new work De la Guerre en Philosophie (Making War in Philosophy).

However, Botul is a fictional character used by journalist Frederic Pages, who created the philosopher for the tongue-in-cheek publication Le Canard Enchaine. The fact that the thinker is a fake is well-known in France, although it appears that Levy has only just gotten in on the joke.

'It was a truly brilliant and very believable hoax from the mind of a Canard Enchaine journalist, who remains a good philosopher all the same,' Levy commented.

However, the intellectual, whose works include American Vertigo and War, Evil and End of History, said that there are no hard feelings over the hoax and wished 'kudos to the artist'.

Speaking to The Times, Le Nouvel Observateur journalist Aude Lancelin said that she is surprised the gaffe was not noticed by the media, given how well-known the Botul fake is.

© W&G Foyle Ltd
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