Max Cresswell

Prof Max Cresswell profile picture

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


Teaching in 2019

Research Interests

Logic, semantics, history of philosophy.


  • 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 E.D. Mares and A.A. Rini, eds) Logical Modalities from Aristotle to Carnap: The Story of Necessity. Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 2016
  • (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


Teaching in 2019