The University of Iowa

David G. Stern

David Stern
Professor and Collegiate Fellow
PhD, University of California-Berkeley, 1987
276 English-Philosophy Building
Research Interests: 
Wittgenstein, history of analytic philosophy, philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, philosophy of science, philosophy and computing
Google Scholar Citations:

Professor Stern is the author of Wittgenstein on Mind and Language (1995) and Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations: An Introduction (2004), and an editor of The Cambridge Companion to Wittgenstein (1996), Wittgenstein Reads Weininger: A Reassessment (2004), and Wittgenstein: Lectures, Cambridge 1930-1933, From the Notes of G. E Moore (forthcoming). His research and teaching interests include philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, philosophy of science, philosophy and computing, and the history of analytic philosophy.

Honors & Awards: 
  • 2015                Director, Obermann Center Summer Seminar, UI.
  • 2014                American Philosophical Society, Franklin Research Grant.
  • 2014                UI Arts & Humanities Initiative Grant.
  • 2013-2018       Collegiate Fellow, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, UI.2011
  • 2011                American Philosophical Society, Franklin Research Grant.
  • 2011                UI Arts & Humanities Initiative Grant.
  • 2009                Honoris Causa Honorary Degree, Philosophy, UNMSM, Lima, Peru.
  • 1999-2002       Faculty Scholar, one semester a year for three years, University of Iowa.
  • 1998-9             Alexander von Humboldt Fellow, University of Bielefeld, Germany.
  • 1997                NEH Fellow, summer Institute on "Practices" at UC Santa Cruz.
  • 1994                NEH Fellow, summer Institute on "Embodiment" at UC Santa Cruz.
  • 1993                May Brodbeck Humanities Fellow, University of Iowa.
Selected Publications: 



  • Wittgenstein: Lectures, Cambridge 1930-1933, From the Notes of G. E Moore, edited by David Stern, Brian Rogers, and Gabriel Citron. (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming, Fall 2015.)
  • Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations: An Introduction.  (Cambridge University Press, paper and hardback, 2004.)  208 + xvi  pp.  In the Cambridge Introductions to Key Philosophical Texts series.
  • Wittgenstein on mind and language. 226 + xii pp.  (Oxford University Press, hardback, 1995; paperback, 1996; electronic edition, as part of Oxford Scholarship Online, 2006.)  


  • DoisPontos vol 6 #1 2009, ed. David Stern, João Vergílio Gallerani Cuter and Mathieu Marion, 256 pp.  Special issue on “Wittgenstein intermediário” (Middle Wittgenstein.)
  • Wittgenstein Reads Weininger, ed. David Stern and Béla Szabados. 197 + vii pp.  (Cambridge University Press, paper and hardback, 2004.)  Published as an eBook, 2006.
  • The Cambridge Companion to Wittgenstein, ed. Hans Sluga and David Stern.  509 + ix pp. (Cambridge University Press, paper and hardback, 1996.  Electronic edition, 2005.)  Kurdish translation, 2005; Chinese reprint edition, 2005; Greek translation, 2008.


50.  “The ‘Middle Wittgenstein’ Revisited.”  In Proceedings of the 36th International Ludwig Wittgenstein-Symposium.  Göttingen: de Gruyter, 2014. 

49.    "Texts and style."  In The Blackwell Companion to Wittgenstein ed. Hans-Johann Glock and John Hyman.  7,500 words.  Submitted August 2013, for publication in 2014.

48.  “Moore’s notes on Wittgenstein’s lectures, Cambridge 1930-1933: Text, Context, and Content.”  Nordic Wittgenstein Review #2 2013, pp. 161-179. Print and online publication, August 2013.  Co-authored with Gabriel Citron and Brian Rogers.

47.  “Wittgenstein on ethical concepts: a reading of Philosophical Investigations §77 and Moore’s lecture notes, May 1933.”  In Proceedings of the 35th International Ludwig Wittgenstein-Symposium, edited by Hajo Greif and Martin G. Weiss, pp. 55-67.  Göttingen: de Gruyter, 2013. 

46.  “Wittgenstein’s lectures on ethics, Cambridge 1933.”  Wittgenstein Studien, 4:1 (2013), 191-206.

45.   “A new book by Wittgenstein?  The place of the Kringel-Buch in the Wittgenstein papers.”  In Kulturen und Werte.  Wittgensteins "Kringel-Buch" als Initialtext [Cultures and Values. Wittgenstein’s "Kringel-Book" as an Initial Text], edited by Josef Rothhaupt and Wilhelm Vossenkuhl, pp. 97-111.  De Gruyter, 2013. 

44.  “The origins of the rule-following considerations and the development of Wittgenstein's philosophy in the 1930s.”  O que nos faz pensar, 33 (March 2013), pp. 111-131.

43.  “Des Remarques Philosophiques aux Recherches Philosophiques” [From the Philosophical Remarks to the Philosophical Investigations.]  In Philosophiques, v. 39, #1, spring 2012, pp. 9-34, as part of a special issue on “La période intermédiaire de Wittgenstein” [Wittgenstein’s middle period].  French translation of a revised version of 35.   

42.  “On Dialogues — Wittgenstein’s Literary Style and Philosophical Methods.” In Wittgenstein-Vorträge: Annäherungen aus Kunst und Wissenschaft [Wittgenstein Lectures: Approaches from Art and Science], edited by Jan Drehmel and Kristina Jaspers, pp. 44-61.  Junius Verlag, 2011.

41.  “Private Language.”  In The Oxford Handbook of Wittgenstein, edited by Oskari Kuusela and Marie McGinn, pp. 333-350.  Oxford University Press, 2011.

40.  “Wittgenstein, Qualia, and the Inverted Spectrum.”  In Wittgenstein: Certeza? ed. Arley Moreno, Campinas, Brazil: UNICAMP, Centro de Lógica, Epistemologia e História da Ciência, 2010, pp 49-63.  Coleçáo CLE, v. 58.  Revised and extended version of 37.

39.  “The Bergen Electronic Edition of Wittgenstein’s Nachlass.”  European Journal of Philosophy, 18:3 (2010), pp. 455-467.

38.   “Another Strand in the Private Language Argument.”  In Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations: A Critical Guide, edited by Arif Ahmed, pp. 178-196.  Cambridge University Press, 2010.

37.  “Wittgenstein on the Inverted Spectrum.” In Language and World Part Two: Signs, Minds, and Actions. Proceedings of the 32nd International Ludwig Wittgenstein-Symposium, edited by Volker Munz, Klaus Puhl and Joseph Wang, pp. 135-144.  Frankfurt: Ontos Verlag, 2010. 

36.  “Tracing the Development of Wittgenstein’s Writing on Private Language.”  In Wittgenstein after His Nachlass, edited by Nuno Venturinha, pp. 110-127.  Basingstoke, Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010. 

35.  “From the Philosophical Remarks to the Unity of Science.”  In Portuguese “Das Observações Filosóficas à Unidade da Ciência.” In DoisPontos, América do Sul, vol 6 #1 2009, 63-95.  Revised version of 30.

34.   "Wittgenstein's critique of referential theories of meaning and the paradox of ostension: Philosophical Investigations §§26-48" [PDF] In Wittgenstein's Enduring Arguments, edited by Edoardo Zamuner and D. K. Levy, pp. 179-208.  Routledge, 2009.

33.   “Digital Wittgenstein scholarship: past, present and future.” [PDF] In Wittgenstein and the Philosophy of Information: Proceedings of the 30th International Wittgenstein-Symposium, edited by Alois Pichler and Herbert Hrachovec, pp. 223-238.  Ontos Verlag, 2008.

32.  “The central arguments of the Philosophical  Investigations: an elementary exposition.”  In French, in Wittgenstein.  État des lieux, edited by Élisabeth Rigal, pp. 169-187.  Paris: Librairie Philosophique J. Vrin, 2008.

31.  “The uses of Wittgenstein’s beetle: Philosophical Investigations §293 and its interpreters.” [PDF]  In Wittgenstein and his Interpreters, edited by Guy Kahane, Edward Kanterian, and Oskari Kuusela, pp. 248-268.  Blackwell, 2007. 

30.  “Wittgenstein, the Vienna Circle, and physicalism: a reassessment.” [PDF] In The Cambridge Companion to Logical Empiricism, edited by Alan Richardson and Thomas Uebel, pp. 305-331.  Cambridge University Press, 2007. 

29.  “How Many Wittgensteins?” [PDF] In Wittgenstein: The Philosopher and his Works, edited by Alois Pichler and Simo Säätelä, pp. 164-188.  Working Papers from the Wittgenstein Archives at the University of Bergen no. 17.  Bergen: Wittgenstein Archives at the University of Bergen, 2005.

29a.  Reprinted in a new edition of Wittgenstein: The Philosopher and his Works, edited by Alois Pichler and Simo Säätelä, pp. 205-229.  Frankfurt a. M: ontos verlag, 2006.

29b.  Reprinted in Analysis And Metaphysics, Vol. 5, August 2006, pp. 40-62.

28. "How to read the Philosophical Investigations." Philosophie  86 (2005), 40-61. In French, in a special double issue of the journal on the Philosophical Investigations.

27.  "Weininger and Wittgenstein on ‘animal psychology." [PDFWittgenstein Reads Weininger, edited by David Stern and Béla Szabados, pp. 169-197.  Cambridge University Press, 2004.

26.  “Reading Wittgenstein (on) Reading.” [PDF] Editors’ Introduction for Wittgenstein Reads Weininger, with Béla Szabados, pp. 1-28.  Cambridge University Press, 2004.

25.  "The Methods of the Tractatus: beyond positivism and metaphysics?" [PDF] Logical Empiricism: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives, part of the Pittsburgh-Konstanz Studies in the Philosophy and History of Science series, eds. Paolo Parrini, Wes Salmon and Merrilee Salmon, pp. 125-156.  Pittsburgh University Press, 2003.

24.  "The Practical Turn." [PDFThe Blackwell Guidebook to the Philosophy of the Social Sciences, edited by Stephen P. Turner and Paul Roth, pp. 185-206.  Blackwell, 2003.

23.  “Nestroy, Augustine, and the opening of the Philosophical Investigations.” [PDF] Wittgenstein and the Future of Philosophy.  A Reassessement after 50 Years.  Proceedings of the 24th International Wittgenstein-Symposium, eds. Rudolf Haller and Klaus Puhl, pp. 429-449. Hölder-Pichler-Tempsky, 2002.

22. "Sociology of science, rule following and forms of life." [PDF] Vienna Circle Institute Yearbook 9/2001: History of Philosophy of Science - New Trends and Perspectives, eds. Michael Heidelberger and Friedrich Stadler, pp. 347-367. Kluwer, 2002.

21.  "Was Wittgenstein a Jew?" [PDF] Wittgenstein: Biography and Philosophy, ed. James Klagge, pp. 237-272.  Cambridge University Press, 2001.

20.  "The Significance of Jewishness for Wittgenstein’s Philosophy." Inquiry 43 (2000) 383-402.
20a.  Reprinted in Essential Readings on Jewish Identities, Lifestyles and Beliefs: Analyses of the Personal and Social Diversity of Jews by Modern Scholars, ed. Stanford M. Lyman, pp. 132-151. Gordian Knot Press, 2003.

19.  "The "dénouement" of "Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind," [PDF] co-authored with Keith Lehrer.  (Lehrer wrote Part III, pp. 211-213; I wrote Parts I-II, and IV.)  History of Philosophy Quarterly 17 #2 (2000) 201-216.

18.  "Practices, practical holism, and background practices." [PDF] Heidegger, Coping, and Cognitive Science: Essays in Honor of Hubert L. Dreyfus, Volume 2, eds. Mark Wrathall and Jeff Malpas, pp. 53-69.  MIT Press, 2000. 

17.  "Wittgenstein and the Sociology of Scientific Knowledge," (in Italian.) Studi Perugini, Wittgenstein e le scienze sociali [Wittgenstein and social science] #7 January-June 1999 pp. 191-219.

16.  "Heidegger and Wittgenstein on the subject of Kantian philosophy." [PDF] Figuring the Self: subject, individual and other in German idealism, eds. David Klemm and Günter Zöller, pp. 245-259.  SUNY Press, 1997.

15.  "The availability of Wittgenstein's philosophy." [PDF] The Cambridge Companion to Wittgenstein, eds. Hans Sluga and David Stern, pp. 442-476.  Cambridge University Press, 1996.

14.  "Towards a critical edition of the Philosophical Investigations." [PDF] Wittgenstein and the Philosophy of Culture, eds. Kjell S. Johannessen and Tore Nordenstam, pp. 298-309. Hölder-Pichler-Tempsky, 1996.

13.  "New Evidence Concerning the Construction //Troubled History// of Part I of the Investigations." [PDFCulture and Value: Philosophy and the Cultural Sciences. Papers of the 18th International Wittgenstein Symposium, eds. Kjell S. Johannessen and Tore Nordenstam.  pp. 789-795.  Kirchberg, Austria: The Austrian Ludwig Wittgenstein Society, 1995.

12.  "A new exposition of the 'private language argument': Wittgenstein's notes for the 'Philosophical Lecture." [PDF] Philosophical Investigations 17 (1994) pp. 552-565.

11.  "The Wittgenstein papers as text and hypertext: Cambridge, Bergen, and beyond." [PDF] Wittgenstein and Norway, ed. Kjell Johannessen, pp. 251-273.  Solum Press, 1994.

10.  "Recent work on Wittgenstein1980-1990." [PDF]   Synthese 98 (1994) pp. 415-458.

9.  "Toward a complete edition of the Wittgenstein papers: prospects and problems." [PDFPapers of the 16th International Wittgenstein Symposium, vol. I, pp. 501-505, eds. Roberto Casati and Graham White. Kirchberg, Austria: The Austrian Ludwig Wittgenstein Society, 1993.

7-8.  Editor, two pieces of Wittgenstein's writing, for L. Wittgenstein, Philosophical Occasions: 1912-1951, eds. James Klagge & Alfred Nordmann.  Indianapolis, IN: Hackett, 1993.
•  A full transcription of material previously published in an abridged form as "Notes for Lectures on 'Sense Data' and 'Private Experience," [PDF] with editorial preface and some new translation from passages in German, pp. 202-288. 
•  "Notes for the 'Philosophical Lecture," [PDF] previously unpublished notes for a public lecture on private language, pp. 447-458.  Editorial preface, pp. 445-446. 

6.  "The 'Middle Wittgenstein' from logical atomism to practical holism." [PDF] Synthese 87 (1991) pp. 203-226. 
6a.  Reprinted in Wittgenstein in Florida, ed. Jaakko Hintikka.  Kluwer, 1991.
6b.  Reprinted in Ludwig Wittgenstein: Critical Assessments of Leading Philosophers, Second Series eds. Stuart Shanker and David Kilfoyle, volume 1, pp. 262-283.  Routledge, 2002.

5.  "Heraclitus' and Wittgenstein's river images: stepping twice into the same river." [PDFThe Monist 74 (1991) pp. 579-604.

4.  "Models of memory: Wittgenstein and cognitive science." [PDF] Philosophical Psychology 4 (1991) pp. 137-152. 

3.  "Are disagreements about taste possible? [PDF] A discussion of Kant's antinomy of taste." Iowa Review 21 #2 (1991) pp. 66-71. 

2.  "'What is the ground of the relationship of that in us which we call "representation" to the object?' [PDF]  Reflections on the Kantian legacy in the philosophy of mind." Doing Philosophy Historically, ed. Peter Hare, pp. 216-230.  Buffalo NY: Prometheus Press, 1988.

1.  Wittgenstein's Epistemology in the 1920s and 1930s: from the picture theory to 'philosophical pictures." [PDF] Proceedings of the 11th International Wittgenstein Symposium, eds. Paul Weingartner and Gerhard Schurz. pp. 424-426. Vienna: Hölder-Pichler-Tempsky, 1987.

Professional History: 
  • Professor, University of Iowa.  Philosophy.  2004-. 
    Department Chair.  2005-2007.
    Associate Professor, 1994-2004. 
    Assistant Professor, 1988-1994.
  • Alexander von Humboldt Fellow, University of Bielefeld, Germany.  1998-1999.
  • Assistant Professor, University of California, Berkeley.  Rhetoric.  1993-1996.
  • Killam Postdoctoral Scholar, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.  Philosophy.  1987-8.