Welcome to the first and longest running website maintained by a professor at Georgetown University. I am the Founding Director of Georgetown's Communication, Culture & Technology Program (CCT), and have been a professor at Georgetown for over 30 years. I set up the first website at Georgetown, The Labyrinth -- and the first website in the humanities -- in 1993, and began developing websites for courses in 1994. When I launched the CCT Program in 1995-96, I began developing custom-designed sites for each course with web syllabi, readings, and lecture notes, and this site has now become my archive of courses, lectures, essays, and presentations for students and anyone interested in the fields I work in.

My teaching and research interests span several fields and disciplines: theory and philosophy of technology and culture; the history and theory of computation and the design of computing systems; semiotic theory and C. S. Peirce; linguistics and philosophy of language; media and communication theory and history; and philosophy and intellectual history more broadly. I also have a deep interest in art theory and history, and have worked with many artists and musicians.

Current Research Interests:

I continually draw from my earlier background in classical and medieval languages, literature, and philosophy, and have been working on new translations of writings by Leibniz (in Latin and French) on semiotics, computation, calculating machines and the binary number system. (Results of this research will appear in forthcoming papers and a book in progress.)

Over the past 8 years, I have been working on the unpublished papers of C. S. Peirce on logic, semeiotic, his designs for scientific instruments, logic machines, mathematics, notation systems, and his extensive work on the binary number system. I have a book in progress on a new intellectual history of computing and information from Leibniz to the present with a Peircean "Logic as Semeiotic" framework. (See below for references in Recent Publications and Work in Progress.)


Recent Publications, Papers, and Work in Progress

Work in Progress

  • The Semiotic Foundations of Computing: A Peircean Redescription of Computation, Information, and Digital Media (book in progress).

Recent Articles, Book Chapters, and Conference Papers

Research Resource Site: C. S. Peirce's Logic as Semeiotic Project (c.1896-1913)

  • This site makes available my research on the Peirce Papers collection archived at Houghton Library, Harvard University, for my book project. I have been focusing on the unpublished papers (drafts, letters, notebooks) from the 1890s-1912. There is a link to my spreadsheet (of nearly 1,000 sources. This contains brief notes and dates of the papers for a clear picture of the trajectory of Peirce's work on logic, semiotics, mathematics, computation, and designs for technical instruments, including the many papers and notes on his methods for binary (base 2) computation, which he developed in great detail several decades before the beginnings of our digital computing era.

For Student Writers: A Rhetoric for the Digital Age

Writing to be Read: A Rhetoric for the Digital Age.
A guide for structuring your argument in essays and theses, and supporting your writing with authoritative sources in any medium, whether writing traditional "papers" or rich media essays on the Web.

Martin Irvine
Communication, Culture, and Technology Program (CCT)
Georgetown University
3520 Prospect St., NW, Suite 311
Washington, DC 20057
email:  irvinem@georgetown.edu

I thought of a labyrinth of labyrinths, of one sinuous spreading labyrinth that would encompass the past and the future and in some way involve the stars. -- Jorge Luis Borges, from "The Garden of Forking Paths"

Nothing conclusive has yet taken place in the world, the ultimate word of the world and about the world has not yet been spoken, the world is open and free, everything is still in the future and will always be in the future. -- Mikhail Bakhtin

The valuable truth is not the detached one, but the one that goes toward enlarging the system of what is already known. -- C. S. Peirce, from "The First Rule of Logic" (1898)