We live in a society and culture that has learned to fear mathematics. Having a mathematical brain is considered an oddity and it is assumed that anyone who understands math must be really smart. Yet, the skills needed to demonstrate awe-inspiring mathematical ability are quite limited. Despite the many years of required education a large swath of the population lives without proper mathematical comprehension. This paper will introduce the Chinese Room by presenting Searle’s arguments and creating a scenario for the reader to ponder. Then, some standard information about math education will be explored both with approaches that rely on the learning processes of the Chinese Room and others that contradict it. This intersection between Searle’s Chinese Room and math education illustrates problems with traditional approaches to math education and challenges some of Searle’s conclusions regarding the Chinese Room.

Additional Metadata
Keywords arithmetic skills, math skills, mathematical comprehension, Chinese Room argument, Searle’s Chinese Room, John Searle, fear of mathematics
Publisher Department of Cognitive Science
Series Cognitive Science Technical Report Series
Deslauriers, Wendy Ann. (2005). Math and the Chinese Room. Technical Report 2006-08. Cognitive Science Technical Report Series. Department of Cognitive Science.