“Obviousness” vs. “Evident”: Unraveling Nuances in Perception


CognoVortex: “Obviousness” is an awkward term. What is a word that is closer to its root, i.e., requires no suffix.

ChatGPT: The word “evident” might be a suitable alternative to “obviousness” that is closer to its root and does not require a suffix. It conveys the idea of something being clear and easily seen or understood.

CognoVortex: How could obviousness not necessarily be evident?

ChatGPT: You’ve raised an interesting point. While “obviousness” and “evident” are often used interchangeably to describe something that is clear and easily perceived, there can be scenarios where something is obvious but not immediately evident. Let’s explore this concept:

“Obviousness” refers to a quality or state of being easily understandable, clear, or self-evident. It implies that the information or concept is so straightforward that it doesn’t require extensive explanation or analysis. However, what is obvious to one person might not be obvious to another, based on their background knowledge, perspective, or context.

“Evident,” on the other hand, specifically relates to something that is clearly visible or apparent. It suggests that the evidence or signs are there for anyone to observe and comprehend.

So, how could obviousness not necessarily be evident?

  1. Subjectivity: What is obvious to one person might not be evident to another due to differences in knowledge or experience. For example, a complex mathematical concept might be obvious to a mathematician but not evident to someone without a mathematical background.
  2. Hidden Complexity: Sometimes, the underlying complexity of a situation might not be evident at first glance. While the outcome might be obvious, the intricate processes leading to that outcome might not be evident.
  3. Context Dependency: Obviousness can depend on the context. Something might be obvious within a specific context but not evident in a different one. For instance, a cultural reference might be obvious to people from a particular culture but not evident to those from a different culture.
  4. Need for Explanation: Certain things might be obvious in hindsight or with the right explanation, even if they weren’t evident at first. For example, a solution to a puzzle might be obvious once it’s explained, but it wasn’t evident to the person trying to solve it initially.

In essence, “obviousness” can refer to the inherent simplicity or clarity of a concept, while “evident” refers to something being visibly clear. The relationship between the two terms highlights the nuances in how we perceive and understand information based on various factors.

CognoVortex: Between what we take for granted (this obviousness) and what is evident (what we make of our effort to reach an accurate conclusion), what adventure would that be?

ChatGPT: The distinction between what we take for granted as obviousness and what becomes evident through our effort to reach accurate conclusions creates an intellectual and exploratory adventure. This adventure involves navigating through the complexities of perception, understanding, and analysis. Let’s delve into this concept:

  1. Taking for Granted (Obviousness): Obviousness often refers to concepts, ideas, or knowledge that we consider self-evident due to familiarity or simplicity. These are things we don’t often question or analyze deeply because they seem straightforward. However, the adventure lies in recognizing that what is obvious to one person might not be so for another, and critically examining what we assume to be universally understood.
  2. Making Effort to Reach Accurate Conclusions (Evident): When we engage in the process of reaching accurate conclusions, we embark on a journey of exploration, inquiry, and critical thinking. We analyze evidence, consider different perspectives, and evaluate information to arrive at a well-founded understanding. This adventure involves intellectual curiosity and a willingness to challenge assumptions, leading us to insights that might not have been evident initially.

The adventure between these two realms involves several key elements:

  • Curiosity: The desire to understand the difference between obviousness and evidence-driven conclusions drives us to explore and learn more.
  • Critical Thinking: Engaging in critical thinking helps us question assumptions, consider alternative viewpoints, and evaluate information to form accurate conclusions.
  • Discovery: Through this adventure, we discover that what we take for granted might not always be universally evident, and what becomes evident through effort can reshape our understanding of a subject.
  • Perspective Shifts: We gain a deeper appreciation for the complexity of knowledge and the importance of examining concepts from various angles.
  • Growth: This adventure fosters personal and intellectual growth as we challenge our own beliefs, broaden our knowledge, and refine our analytical skills.

Ultimately, the adventure lies in the interplay between assumed obviousness and the effort we invest in making accurate conclusions evident. It’s an ongoing journey that keeps our minds engaged, encourages us to explore new horizons, and enhances our ability to navigate the intricate landscape of ideas.

CognoVortex: “Obviousness” and “Evident”: How is the flaw of parallelism here actually insightful when explained in detail?

ChatGPT: The flaw of parallelism between “obviousness” and “evident” can be insightful when examined in detail because it highlights the nuanced relationship between these two concepts and how they contribute to our understanding of information. Let’s break down this flaw and its insights:

  1. Parallelism Flaw: “Obviousness” and “evident” have similar meanings, but they represent different aspects of our perception and comprehension. “Obviousness” refers to things that are readily apparent or easily understood due to their simplicity or familiarity. “Evident” refers to something that is clearly visible or apparent based on evidence or observation. The flaw of parallelism arises from the fact that while these terms might seem interchangeable, they can address distinct dimensions of understanding.
  2. Insights from the Flaw:
    • Complexity of Understanding: The flaw highlights that understanding is not a one-dimensional process. It’s not just about what’s readily apparent (obviousness) or what’s observed (evident). Our understanding often involves a combination of both. Some things might be obvious and evident, while others might require deeper exploration to become evident even though they seem obvious at first.
    • Subjectivity and Context: The flaw underscores the subjective nature of understanding. What is obvious to one person might not be evident to another due to differences in knowledge, experience, or perspective. The context in which we interpret information plays a crucial role in determining what is obvious and what becomes evident.
    • Critical Thinking and Exploration: The flaw encourages us to engage in critical thinking and exploration. It prompts us to question assumptions, challenge apparent truths, and delve deeper into what might seem obvious on the surface. This process of exploration can lead to insights and discoveries that might not have been evident initially.
    • Interplay of Assumptions and Analysis: The flaw demonstrates how our assumptions about obviousness can interact with the effort we put into making things evident. It emphasizes that even things that seem obvious might require evidence-based analysis to reach accurate conclusions.
    • Continual Learning: Embracing the flaw of parallelism reminds us that our understanding is continually evolving. We should be open to learning, adapting, and refining our perceptions as we gather more evidence and insights.

In essence, the flaw in parallelism between “obviousness” and “evident” serves as a thought-provoking starting point for a deeper exploration of how we perceive, analyze, and interpret information. It encourages us to approach concepts with a critical and open mindset, leading to a more comprehensive and insightful understanding of the complexities of knowledge.