The “cliff hanger question” was intended as a trick question leading towards the fake dichotomy of objectivism vs. subjectivism — a limited folk theory that I think is at the root of Alexander preferring a rather adventurous physics/quantum mechanics based explanation for his theory over a supposedly inferior but much more reasonable psychological one. But you disarmed the trap quite effectively by bringing up ergodicity.
[…] Philosophically, I don’t think we’ll ever get out of this loop where it’s unclear if these patterns actually exist physically (as Alexander believes), or if it’s just our cognitive system making more sense of some things over others.
Note that this is not the same thing as objectivism vs. subjectivism. The cognitive explanation doesn’t imply that there is no reality at all, just that it’s not clear if the “importance” of such patterns in a shared reality, of whatever nature that reality is, is based on that external reality itself or if it is based on our perception or both. Here I really recommend reading Lakoff, perhaps over Alexander at this point, to reconcile this strange dichotomy. […]
Philosophically, I don’t think we’ll ever get out of this loop where it’s unclear if these patterns actually exist physically (as Alexander believes), or if it’s just our cognitive system making more sense of some things over others.
- There’s a particular strand of ancient philosophy which gives priority to the world of forms over our everyday experience. It comes from Eleatic philosophers (Parmenides, Zeno, Xenophanes), but was given a twist in the name we know in the name of Platonism. I haven’t fully drawn out the different threads but I think it has roots in Pythagoreanism / Orphism. Its very controversial and debated to this day, but I guess in the interest of this group, I think they are better discussed to orient towards engineering systems and software.
- In that respect, these things are discussed closer in the dichotomy between formalism vs. intuitionism and was lately debated among Hilbert and Brouwer: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brouwer%E2%80%93Hilbert_controversy
Perhaps inspired by mathematics we think there must be some total order, the one rule or law of the universe that can describe everything. And maybe that is so.
This is pretty much what the Eleatic philosophers I mentioned above played around with.