As Dr Maxwell writes in his preface to this book, his aim has been to instruct through entertainment. ‘The general theory is that a wrong idea may often be exposed more convincingly by following it to its absurd conclusion than by merely announcing the error and starting again.
Thus a number of by-ways appear which, it is hoped, may amuse the professional, and help to tempt back to the subject those who thought they were losing interest.’ The standard of knowledge expected is fairly elementary. In most cases a straightforward statement of the fallacious argument is followed by an exposure in which the error is traced to the most elementary source, and this process often leads to an analysis which is often of unexpected depth.
Many students will discover just how mathematically minded they are when they read this book; nor is that the only discovery they will make. Teachers of mathematics in schools and technical schools, colleges and universities will also be sure to find something here to please them.