Philosophy

One of the reasons that motivated me to create this site in 1999 was the attacks against Bernard-Henri Lévy the philosopher. Or, to be precise, it was due to too many people I found little willing to recognize in Lévy a true philosopher. A decade later, things haven’t changed. I always hear the same old refrain, “Lévy isn’t a real philosopher, he hasn’t invented any real concepts”. And moreover, I should say (as I often have over the years, to the man in question) that Lévy himself, too modest, too busy dabbling in just about everything, too indifferent to criticism, doesn’t always help us, doesn’t help himself, to make the truth triumph. Hence this new rubric. To me, it is essential. I believe it is essential as well for him, so as to show the true worth of his work. Besides being a writer, a journalist, an adventurer, a firebrand, director of a review, a militant, and a courageous man, Lévy is above and beyond all, indeed, above all, a philosopher—and that, with the help of my staff, is what I intend to prove here. I know his work, I think, better than most of his detractors. There is not one of his books that I have not commented on extensively, here in the United States, in the French Review. And this miniscule privilege gives me the right, I think 1) to remind others that Bernard-Henri Lévy has had an academic career that would make his detractors turn green with envy; 2) to establish the catalogue raisonné of the masters with whom he has studied; 3) to draw up the list of both the concepts he has conceived and those to which he has imparted a new sense. I listen to my students and former students of Hofstra University. I observe, on the net, in the United States, in Europe, and elsewhere, the groups that have been formed whose reflections are based upon Lévy’s concepts. To all of them, I wish to say that they are the ones who are right. “Lévyism” does exist. It is possible, and fruitful, to be a Lévyist. I am giving myself a few months, with whomever wishes to do so, to outline the contours of this Lévyism and demonstrate its substance. Professeur Liliane Lazar, Hofstra University.