In his latest title, Lévy launches a scathing attack on the 18th century German philosopher Immanuel Kant, calling him “raving mad” and a “fake”. In framing his case, Lévy – BHL to the Parisian cognoscenti – drew on the writings of the little-known 20th century thinker Jean-Baptiste Botul – author of The Sex Life of Immanuel Kant, and a man Lévy has cited in lectures. The problem? Botul never existed. He was invented by a journalist from the satirical newspaper Le Canard Enchaîné 10 years ago as an elaborate joke. And since the hoax was revealed, BHL has become a laughing stock.
I’m going to go with the CW here that Kant is an intellectual giant. It’s unfortunate that I’ve never seen an English translation of anything by Kant that’s remotely pleasurable to read. It would be nice to be able to suggest to people in good faith that they read some Kant, but it strikes me as the kind of thing you sort of need to read under the watchful eye and whip-hand of a teacher if you actually want to get through any of it.