Critique of Actor-Network Theory
Abstract: Actor-Network Theory attempts to set aside issues of internalism versus externalism. I would suggest that a subject and object articulate meaning in discourse very differently, such that it presents a problem for ANT. A thinking thing constructs meaning through F.A.C.E (formation, articulation, contemplation, and expression). An idea is formed through stimuli (perceptual, imagination, memory, or combinations of those categories). The idea is articulated within the mind through its faculties. The articulated idea is checked for coherence, such that mental glossolalia will not be expressed (those with dissociative mental conditions, withstanding). If the articulated idea is coherent then it is expressed as a notion or concept. The notion will have to go through the FACE process of meaning-production once more to become a concept. The notion implies some form of novelty whereby the mind articulating it must show how it fits into pre-existing discourse in order to become a concept. Meaning is produced by minds through a process such as FACE (this is the process I am offering). A process such as this constructs a spatiotemporal register dynamically and because of the checks on coherence, it could be argued that the process by which subjects articulate meaning is inherently based in dialectics (contemplation is a synthetic stage, converting notions to concepts is a synthetic process). Objects do not construct meaning through a process such as FACE, as the object need not prove to itself that it is rational prior to expression. As such, I have serious reservations on the viability of ANT as a methodology for explaining how meaning is produced in discourse.