There’s reason to wonder whether “obvious” is a relation masquerading as a predicate (so that we ought to ask always, “Obvious to whom?”). A great Cambridge mathematician, so the story goes, once stood before his class and filled the chalkboard with a vast and intricate equation. Underlining the result, he declared, “As you can see, it’s obvious.” Suddenly, though, he was seized by doubt, and, with furrowed brow, crept from the classroom. When he returned five minutes later, he was in fine spirits, his worries banished. “Why, yes, indeed,” he assured his students, “it is obvious.”

– Kwame Anthony Appiah, Experiments in Ethics (2008)


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