After many years of circulating in typescript form, this remarkable study by Thomas K. Simpson
—a work long celebrated as something of an underground classic—is at long last available in a new edition worthy of its vision and depth.
Simpson identifies the distinctively rhetorical functions of mathematics, as Maxwell employs them in the Treatise on Electricity and Magnetism. Like the tropes of classical rhetoric, mathematical rhetoric seeks intelligibility and illumination—in this respect contrasting with what Maxwell termed "the mathematics of pure quantity," which emphasizes precision and logical economy.
Maxwell's Mathematical Rhetoric is the book to which Simpson’s Figures of Thought (also available from Green Lion Press) serves as an introduction. Maxwell's Mathematical Rhetoric explores in greater depth and detail the themes adumbrated in Figures of Thought.