Credulity, or Science as an intoxication

[Emily] Ogden intends to “accentuate the negative,” so the train of questions I have—questions that view science in a more optimistic light—runs perpendicular to the thrust of her project. Nonetheless, I want to use her picture of the nonmodern obsessions of the scientists to explore how science is understood by the early architects of the secularization thesis. In her account of the debunking maneuvers of Franklin and Lavoisier’s 1784 commission, Ogden proposes that the debunkers are addicted to their debunking. She layers Bruno Latour’s factish—the peculiar feature of moderns to fixate on that which is made versus that which is “factical”—and Sigmund Freud’s fetish—the pathological obsession with a thing that resolves one’s own anxiety about lack. For Latour, the factish—the modern obsession with “facts” as if they were unmade, purely exterior realities—is a delusion. But is it pathological, in the way that it is for Freud? Could we talk about the modern desire for debunking as something other than a dalliance with contempt?