David G. Stern

Collegiate Fellow

Professor Stern is the author of Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations: An Introduction (2004), and Wittgenstein on Mind and Language (1995) and an editor of Wittgenstein in the 1930s: Wittgenstein between the Tractatus and the Investigations (2018), Wittgenstein Reads Weininger: A Reassessment (2004), and The Cambridge Companion to Wittgenstein (first edition 1996, second edition 2018). 

Office hours

Thursdays from 10 to 11 a.m. and 1:45 to 2:45 p.m.

Honors and awards

  • 2020-2021: NEH Fellowship for work on the first complete translation of Wittgenstein’s Tractatus and its sources, $60,000.
  • 2019-2023: Commissioning editor for 33 short books on Wittgenstein, as part of the Cambridge University Press Elements series. UI Arts & Humanities Initiative Grant, $7,500.
  • 2020: UI Arts & Humanities Initiative Grant, $7,500.
  • 2020: Career Development Award, University of Iowa.
  • 2018-2023: Reappointed, Collegiate Fellow, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, UI.
  • 2017: UI Arts & Humanities Initiative Grant, $7,500.
  • 2015: Director, Obermann Center Summer Seminar, UI, $40,000.
  • 2014: American Philosophical Society, Franklin Research Grant, $6,000.
  • 2014: UI Arts & Humanities Initiative Grant, $7,500.
  • 2013-2018: Collegiate Fellow, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, UI.
  • 2011: American Philosophical Society, Franklin Research Grant, $6,000.
  • 2011: UI Arts & Humanities Initiative Grant, $7,500,
  • 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.

Digital humanities websites

The University of Iowa Tractatus Map. Edited by David Stern, Phillip Ricks and Landon Elkind. 2016. The first Tractatus website to map the book’s overall structure, and the only one to provide parallel access to the earlier versions of that text in the Prototractatus

Wittgenstein Source Facsimile Edition of Moore’s Notes of Wittgenstein’s Lectures (WS-MWN). Edited by David Stern, Brian Rogers, and Gabriel Citron. Web publication of eight manuscripts of GE Moore’s, approximately 650 facsimiles, on the Wittgenstein Source website. 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.
  • As Investigações Filosóficas de Wittgenstein: uma introdução. (São Paulo: Annablume, 2012.) 300 pp. Portuguese translation, by Marcelo Carvalho, of Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations: An Introduction. With a new preface, written for the Brazilian edition. The book is one of the first two books in a new series of translations of books on Wittgenstein into Portuguese. It is the first book on the Philosophical Investigations to be published in that language.
  • Wittgenstein on mind and language. 226 + xii pp. (Oxford University Press, hardback, 1995; paperback, 1996; electronic edition, as part of Oxford Scholarship Online, 2006.) 

Edited volumes

  • Wittgenstein in the 1930s: Wittgenstein between the Tractatus and the Investigations. Edited collection of 15 papers arising out of the May 2015 Obermann Summer Seminar. xiv + 298 pp. Cambridge University Press, 2018.
  • Wittgenstein: Lectures, Cambridge 1930-1933, From the Notes of G. E Moore, edited by David Stern, Brian Rogers, and Gabriel Citron. Cambridge University Press, 2016. lxxiv + 420 pp.
  • 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. Second edition with five new essays, new introduction, bibliography, and literature guide, 514 + xiv pp. January 2018
  • The Cambridge Companion to Wittgenstein, ed. Hans Sluga and David Stern. First edition. 509 + ix pp. (Cambridge University Press, paper and hardback, 1996. Electronic edition, 2005.) Kurdish translation, 2005; Chinese reprint edition, 2005; Greek translation, 2008.

Books in progress

  • The Genealogy of Wittgenstein’s Tractatus. In the Cambridge Elements series on “The Philosophy of Ludwig Wittgenstein.” Publication planned for 2024. 

Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus and its German sources: a three-volume edition and translation

All three volumes are a collaborative project with Joachim Schulte and Katia Saporiti:

  1. Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. The first book will provide the new translation of Tractatus, in both the traditional number order and as a logical tree. Publication planned for 2022. 
  2. A Logical Philosophical Treatise: Wittgenstein’s First Draft of Tractatus. The second book will begin with Wittgenstein’s first draft of Tractatus, MS 104, in the order it was written down, followed by a tree-structured arrangement of that draft.
  3. Notebooks and Diaries, 1914-1917. The third book will contain the three wartime notebooks, MSS 101-103.

Journal articles and book chapters

  • “The structure of Tractatus and the Tractatus numbering system.” In The Philosophy of Perception: Proceedings of the 40th International Ludwig Wittgenstein-Symposium, edited by Christoph Limbeck- Lilienau and Friedrich Stadler, 377-398. Berlin, Boston: de Gruyter, 2019. 
  • “Russell’s and Wittgenstein’s logical atomisms.” In The Philosophy of Logical Atomism: A Centenary Reappraisal, edited by Landon Elkind and Gregory Landini, 115-132. In the Palgrave Macmillan History of Analytic Philosophy series. 2018.
  • “Introducing the Tractatus Map.” In Ludwig Wittgenstein: Die Tractatus Odyssee [The Tractatus Odyssey], edited by Radmila Schweizer, 238-253. Vienna: Wittgenstein Initiative, 2018.
  • “Wittgenstein between the Tractatus and the Investigations.” In Wittgenstein in the 1930s: Wittgenstein between the Tractatus and the Investigations, 1-24. Cambridge University Press, 2018.
  • “Wittgenstein and Moore on Grammar.” In Wittgenstein in the 1930s: Wittgenstein between the Tractatus and the Investigations, 27-44. Cambridge University Press, 2018.
  • “Wittgenstein in the 1930s.” In The Cambridge Companion to Wittgenstein, second edition, 126-151. Cambridge University Press, 2018.
  • “Reflections on editing Moore’s notes in Wittgenstein: Lectures, Cambridge 1930-1933.” Belgrade Philosophical Annual 30, 2017, 225-234.
  • "Wittgenstein’s Texts and Style." In A Companion to Wittgenstein ed. Hans-Johann Glock and John Hyman, 41-55. Blackwell, 2017.
  • “The University of Iowa Tractatus Map.” Nordic Wittgenstein Review 5:2 (2016) 203-220.
  • “Wittgenstein: Lectures, Cambridge 1930-1933 from the Notes of G. E. Moore. Excerpt: Lecture 3b on May 5, 1933 and Lecture4a on May 9, 1933.” Co-edited with Gabriel Citron and Brian Rogers. In Wittgenstein’s Remarks on Frazer: The Text and the Matter, ed. Lars Albinus, Josef G. F. Rothhaupt & Aidan Seery, 85-97. Göttingen: de Gruyter, 2016.
  • “The ‘Middle Wittgenstein’ Revisited.” In Mind, Language and Action: Proceedings of the 36th International Ludwig Wittgenstein-Symposium, edited by Danièle Moyal-Sharrock, Volker Munz & Annalisa Coliva, 181-204. Göttingen: de Gruyter, 2014.
  • “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.
  • "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. 
  • “Wittgenstein’s lectures on ethics, Cambridge 1933.” Wittgenstein Studien, 4:1 (2013), 191-206.
  • “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. 
  • “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.
  • “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.
  • “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.
  • “Private Language.” In The Oxford Handbook of Wittgenstein, edited by Oskari Kuusela and Marie McGinn, pp. 333-350. Oxford University Press, 2011.
  • “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.
  • “The Bergen Electronic Edition of Wittgenstein’s Nachlass.” European Journal of Philosophy, 18:3 (2010), pp. 455-467.
  • “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.
  • “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. 
  • “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. 
  • “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.
  • "Wittgenstein's critique of referential theories of meaning and the paradox of ostension: Philosophical Investigations §§26-48" In Wittgenstein's Enduring Arguments, edited by Edoardo Zamuner and D. K. Levy, pp. 179-208. Routledge, 2009.
  • “Digital Wittgenstein scholarship: past, present and future.” 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.
  • “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.
  • “The uses of Wittgenstein’s beetle: Philosophical Investigations §293 and its interpreters.” In Wittgenstein and his Interpreters, edited by Guy Kahane, Edward Kanterian, and Oskari Kuusela, pp. 248-268. Blackwell, 2007. 
  • “Wittgenstein, the Vienna Circle, and physicalism: a reassessment.” In The Cambridge Companion to Logical Empiricism, edited by Alan Richardson and Thomas Uebel, pp. 305-331. Cambridge University Press, 2007. 
  • “How Many Wittgensteins?” 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.
    • 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.
    • Reprinted in Analysis And Metaphysics, Vol. 5, August 2006, pp. 40-62.
  • "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.
  • "Weininger and Wittgenstein on ‘animal psychology." Wittgenstein Reads Weininger, edited by David Stern and Béla Szabados, pp. 169-197. Cambridge University Press, 2004.
  • “Reading Wittgenstein (on) Reading.” Editors’ Introduction for Wittgenstein Reads Weininger, with Béla Szabados, pp. 1-28. Cambridge University Press, 2004.
  • "The Methods of the Tractatus: beyond positivism and metaphysics?" 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.
  • "The Practical Turn." The Blackwell Guidebook to the Philosophy of the Social Sciences, edited by Stephen P. Turner and Paul Roth, pp. 185-206. Blackwell, 2003.
  • “Nestroy, Augustine, and the opening of the Philosophical Investigations.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.
  • "Sociology of science, rule following and forms of life." 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.
  • "Was Wittgenstein a Jew?" Wittgenstein: Biography and Philosophy, ed. James Klagge, pp. 237-272. Cambridge University Press, 2001.
  • "The Significance of Jewishness for Wittgenstein’s Philosophy." Inquiry 43 (2000) 383-402.
    • 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.
  • "The "dénouement" of "Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind," 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.
  • "Practices, practical holism, and background practices." 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. 
  • "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.
  • "Heidegger and Wittgenstein on the subject of Kantian philosophy." Figuring the Self: subject, individual and other in German idealism, eds. David Klemm and Günter Zöller, pp. 245-259. SUNY Press, 1997.
  • "The availability of Wittgenstein's philosophy." The Cambridge Companion to Wittgenstein, eds. Hans Sluga and David Stern, pp. 442-476. Cambridge University Press, 1996.
  • "Towards a critical edition of the Philosophical Investigations." Wittgenstein and the Philosophy of Culture, eds. Kjell S. Johannessen and Tore Nordenstam, pp. 298-309. Hölder-Pichler-Tempsky, 1996.
  • "New Evidence Concerning the Construction //Troubled History// of Part I of the Investigations." Culture 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.
  • "A new exposition of the 'private language argument': Wittgenstein's notes for the 'Philosophical Lecture." Philosophical Investigations 17 (1994) pp. 552-565.
  • "The Wittgenstein papers as text and hypertext: Cambridge, Bergen, and beyond." Wittgenstein and Norway, ed. Kjell Johannessen, pp. 251-273. Solum Press, 1994.
  • "Recent work on Wittgenstein1980-1990." Synthese 98 (1994) pp. 415-458.
  • "Toward a complete edition of the Wittgenstein papers: prospects and problems." Papers 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.
  • 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," with editorial preface and some new translation from passages in German, pp. 202-288. 
    • "Notes for the 'Philosophical Lecture," previously unpublished notes for a public lecture on private language, pp. 447-458. Editorial preface, pp. 445-446. 
  • "The 'Middle Wittgenstein' from logical atomism to practical holism." Synthese 87 (1991) pp. 203-226. 
    • Reprinted in Wittgenstein in Florida, ed. Jaakko Hintikka. Kluwer, 1991.
    • Reprinted in Ludwig Wittgenstein: Critical Assessments of Leading Philosophers, Second Series eds. Stuart Shanker and David Kilfoyle, volume 1, pp. 262-283. Routledge, 2002.
  • "Heraclitus' and Wittgenstein's river images: stepping twice into the same river." The Monist 74 (1991) pp. 579-604.
  • "Models of memory: Wittgenstein and cognitive science." Philosophical Psychology 4 (1991) pp. 137-152. 
  • "Are disagreements about taste possible? A discussion of Kant's antinomy of taste." Iowa Review 21 #2 (1991) pp. 66-71. 
  • "'What is the ground of the relationship of that in us which we call "representation" to the object?' Reflections on the Kantian legacy in the philosophy of mind." Doing Philosophy Historically, ed. Peter Hare, pp. 216-230. Buffalo NY: Prometheus Press, 1988.
  • Wittgenstein's Epistemology in the 1920s and 1930s: from the picture theory to 'philosophical pictures." 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. 

Committees and service

  • Director of Lecture & Arrangements, UI Philosophy (2008-present)
  • Faculty Senate Judicial Commission (2012-present)
  • Faculty Senate Elections Committee (2012-present)

Google Scholar Citations

Research areas
  • 20th century analytic history of philosophy
  • Logic and philosophy of science
  • Philosophy of language
  • Philosophy of mind
Portrait of David G. Stern
PhD, University of California-Berkeley
Contact Information

University of Iowa
276 English-Philosophy Building (EPB)
251 W. Iowa Avenue
Iowa City, IA 52242
United States