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Volume 50 Issue 1-2 (January 2019), Pages 1-196

The Anatomy of a Philosophical Hoax (pages 156-174)

Abstract This article reflects upon the state of the philosophical profession vis‐à‐vis a close reading of the hoax perpetrated against the International Journal of Badiou Studies in 2016. This hoax is not a subversive act of disciplinary criticism (as the hoaxers contend). Rather, it is a poorly disguised attempt to enforce a partisan and myopic conception of philosophy and to delegitimize an entire subfield of philosophical production—namely, continental philosophy. The hoax is symptomatic of a deeper problem that plagues the profession today: the willingness exhibited by many philosophers to police the boundaries of the discipline by engaging in what we call “acts of force.” The prevalence of acts of force demonstrates that professional philosophy is shaped not only by the giving and taking of reasons but also by shopworn disciplinary tribalisms (for example, continental versus analytic) and asymmetrical power relations involving agents with unequal amounts of social, professional, and philosophical capital.

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