Max Cresswell

Professor School of History, Philosophy, Political Science & International Relations


Teaching in 2017

Research interests

Race, ethics, politics

Prof Max Cresswell profile picture


BA (University of New Zealand)

MA (University of New Zealand)

PhD (University of Manchester)

LitD (Victoria University of Wellington)

In 2012 Max was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand in honour of his work and for advancing the humanities.


Teaching experience

I was on the fulltime staff of Victoria University from 1963 until 1999, and since 2009 have returned to a part-time appointment. My teaching at Victoria University from 1963 to 1999 was principally in logic, which I have taught at all levels. The VUW intoductory logic course typically had over 100 students and the intermediate course around 40. The advanced course had between one and six students. I have taught courses on Greek Philosophy at all levels, covering the Presocratics and the metaphysical views of Plato and Aristotle. In the 70s I shared a course on 19th century philosophy in which I covered Whewell, Mill and Bradley; and from 1997-1999 I taught an intermediate epistemology course in which I covered Plato, Aristotle, Locke, Berkley, Hume, Reid, Mill and Bradley. Since my return in 2009 I have taught (in 2009) a fourth year course on the world-time parrallel, and shared an undergraduate course in the philosophy of language. In 2010-2014 I taught an undergraduate epistemology course containing a survey of the epistemological views of philosophers from Plato to Mill, and since 2011 I have taught an undergraduate course on ancient philosophy.  From 2010-2014 I taught a graduate course on Russell's logical atomism and Wittgenstein's Tractatus.

I have also taught at other New Zealand universities. At Massey University in 2001 I taught a course in business ethics, assisted in a first-year practical ethics course, and contributed some lectures on Locke to a higher level political theory course. In 2003, 2006 and 2008 I taught a course on civil/military relations for the Centre of Defence Studies at Massey University, and in 2004 and 2006 I taught part of an undergraduate course in ancient philosophy, and a course on John Locke at the University of Auckland.  In 2005 I taught a graduate course on Whewell, Mill and Bradley at Auckland.  From 2005-2008 I also taught upper level undergraduate and honours courses in metatheory of modal logic at Auckland.

At the University of Massachusetts (Fall semesters from 1989-1992) I taught courses on modal logic and ancient philosophy, and graduate seminars on propositional attitudes, ontological commitment in natural language, meaning and use, and selected topics in semantics. I have lectured in the semantics of propositional attitudes at Konstanz (1983) and on the philosophy of language at Cambridge (1992). At Colby College in 1996 I taught an introductory and an intermediate logic course. In January-March 2000 I taught and advanced undergraduate philosophy of language course at the University of California, Davis. At Texas A&M in the fall semesters of 2002 and 2005 I taught a graduate course in the philosophy of language, and supervised a graduate reading course on Locke's Essay Concerning Human Understanding, and in 2004 I taught a graduate seminar on Lock at Texas A&M.  At A&M in the fall of 2007 I taught a graduate course on modal logic, and, with A.A.Rini, a graduate seminar on the world-time parallel.

Administrative and miscellaneous experience

I spent three terms as chairperson of my department at VUW, in 1975, from 1985-1988 and from 1993-1996. I served on the VUW Fellowship Committee 1979-1988. In 1967 I was Secretary of the NZ Division of the Australasian Association of Philosophy and in 1968 President of that division. I was a member of the council of the Association for Symbolic Logic for a three-year term from 1 January 1977, was President of the Australasian Association for Logic from August 1890 until August 1981, and President of the Australasian Association of Philosophy from August 1985 until August 1986. I have also been the New Zealand member of the Institut International de Philosophie.



  • (with A.A.Rini) The World-time Parallel: Tense and Modality in Logic and Metaphysics, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2012
  • (with G.E. Hughes) An Introduction to Modal Logic, London, Methuen, 1968
  • Logics and Languages, London, Methuen, 1973
  • (with G.E. Hughes) A Companion to Modal Logic, London, Methuen, 1984
  • Structured Meanings: The Semantics of Propositional Attitudes, Bradford Books/ MIT Press, 1985
  • Semantical Essays: Possible Worlds and Their Rivals, Dordrecht, Kluwer
  • Entities and Indices, Dordrecht, Kluwer, 1990
  • Language in the World, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 1994
  • Semantic Indexicality, Dordrecht, Kluwer, 1996
  • A New Introduction to Modal Logic, (with G.E. Hughes) London, Routledge,1996.

More details on publications, articles, unpublished talks