Sometimes while discussing things, we might come across statements which are pretty obvious to us. And, in English, sometimes we use statements such as -- "It's pretty obvious". But without deducing something logically, or proving it mathematically, or having any empirical evidence;

A) How do we know for sure that somethings are obvious while others are not? Does truism partly answer this question (and if yes, then why)?

B) Does the obviousness of a statement (or an answer) depend on whether the context or the premise being used is either deductive logic or inductive logic?

  • This is how you destroy your intellect. Your brain functions naturally and what's obvious to your brain, that's just ok. If you try to understand how's something just obvious, then you only violate your natural brain functions or your natural, sane cognition. This question is a trap! Read the story of frog and centipede. My life has suffered because of a similar question. One envious christian asked me why was I visiting a certain religious group, which I loved. Out of politeness I started to think Jul 29, 2020 at 22:30
  • Consider Wittgenstein's "On Certainty," particularly his his notion of "hinge propositions": philosophy.stackexchange.com/questions/69531/: the notion of of hinge propositions (see OC, §§341-3), such as “My body has never disappeared and reappeared again after an interval.” (OC 101). these are propositions that are not necessarily/exclusively empirical, i.e. whose function is not necessarily/exclusively to describe the world, but, rather [or additionally] to provide the norms/rules that make empirical investigation possible.
    – gonzo
    Jul 30, 2020 at 1:41
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3 Answers 3


Some knowledge is obvious when one does not need to think on it, so, when it raises unconsciously (independently of the underlying mechanism that makes it raise). (see also conifold's link).

If I tell you the sun will raise tomorrow, you take the existence of the sun as a true fact, and don't even think of it. The existence of the sun is obvious for you.

Remark that we're talking about knowledge. Knowledge is subjective. Two individuals might share some knowledge, and have more, which remains subjective.

Remark also that knowledge is basically a set of relationships. For example, "an apple is a fruit" is a relationship between the concepts apples and fruits. When you are learning, you build such relationships. Later, you don't rebuild them every time. You just use a pre-established relationship.

A) How do we know for sure that somethings are obvious while others are not? Does truism partly answer this question (and if yes, then why)?

We don't. You can almost assume that all the members sharing a specific culture have the same knowledge (for example, every member of a group of computer gamers know what a computer is), but that's not for sure.

B) Does the obviousness of a statement (or an answer) depend on whether the context or the premise being used is either deductive logic or inductive logic?

Either knowledge is obvious (one does not need to think on it, because a pre-established relationship between concepts already exists), or either one does think on it (in order to create relationships), in which case logic would be applied. The sentence "you can buy apples in the market" is obvious because you already know that, you don't think on it. You didn't applied inductive logic, or deductive thinking. As said, you just apply pre-established relationships. If you think, you apply possibly inductive or deductive logic, but that's not anymore obvious.


Obviousness is an emulsion and it is the essence of science and philosophy specifically, not to trust it.

In practice, you can't investigate all your premises, because for each proof of a premises, you'll need a few more unproven premises. (Some sciences, like formal logic, are built on a limited set of premises, called axioms, but they only build models. To apply them to the real world, you need more premises.)

Saying something is obvious, is saying you wil not question it. For a scientist, this can only be a temporary decision, until there are good reasons to doubt any conclusion.


Being obvious is not a property of a statement alone, it is a property of the statement, PLUS your intellect. To my car mechanic it's obvious why my car is not driving (because he has training and experience), when to me it isn't. People fall for pyramid schemes when to every mathematician it's obvious that they don't work.

It also happens the other way round: Things can be obvious to you because you don't have the experience, and someone with more experience will find them not obvious at all. This can lead to things that you find obvious to be true to be false in reality.

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