Re: Maths & the Chinese Room Problem

From: Mike Lorrey (
Date: Thu Aug 23 2001 - 09:00:30 MDT

"Chen Yixiong, Eric" wrote:
> About a year ago, I engaged in a short debate with a lecturer about whether students understand the homework they do or not. This lecturer insisted that since students can solve the homework problems, it means they understood the text. Since he marks my
 assignments, so case closed when I cannot figure out a counter argument in three seconds.
> A fortnight ago, I started read a excellent and highly recommendable book called "e: The Story of a Number", which explains mathematical history and concepts related to the number e, which range from calculus, logarithmic spirals in nature to the feud b
etween the great mathematical geniuses of Newton to Leibniz.
> When I read about differentiation, integration and limit theory, a lot of questions in the past that eluded me now appear clearly. What the hell do you mean by differentiation and integration and what does it do, and that what does this number with an a
rrow thing pointing to zero means? I realised the beauty and power of what previously seemed meaningless to me.

Richard Feynman noticed the same thing on a sabbatical to Brazil many
years ago. The students there would memorize scientific facts and
theories, and have terrific recall, but have absolutely no idea how they
applied to real world problems and phenomena. Read "Surely You're
Joking, Mr. Feynman", by Richard Feynman....

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