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My question will best be summed up by this phenomenon.

A few thousand years ago, all Jews believed that the tablets containing the ten commandments were square, there was no debate regarding their shape, and therefore, no one ever wrote what their shape was. They described their size, and how they fit in a square box perfectly, but they never bothered to explicitly mention whether the tablets were round or square.

So I'm looking for a word or a phrase that describes the phenomenon of something being so obvious that no one bothers to write it down.

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  • 1
    But they have arc-ed tops in all of the movies... what do you mean they're square? ;)
    – Catija
    May 23, 2015 at 4:01
  • I don't follow your example: " few thousand years ago, all Jews believed that the tablets containing the ten commandments were square...no one ever wrote what their shape was...they never bothered to explicitly mention whether the tablets were round or square." So how do you know what they believed?
    – TimR
    May 23, 2015 at 13:44
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    Because of their writings, drawings, paintings, etc. i'm giving a speech tonight with my collected evidence.
    – Aaron
    May 23, 2015 at 22:33

3 Answers 3

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It sounds like conventional wisdom

the body of ideas or explanations generally accepted as true by the public or by experts in a field. Such ideas or explanations, though widely held, are unexamined.

Wikipedia

The term given (as a noun) can also apply

an assumed fact

Collins

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  • Ah, i added some edits, i had forgotten to include a crucial part
    – Aaron
    May 23, 2015 at 0:10
  • btw you are describing a phenomenon, not this phenomena (sic) May 23, 2015 at 3:26
  • +1 for a given. That should be the top answer.
    – Carl Smith
    May 23, 2015 at 4:25
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The term I would use would be default position, borrowed from wordprocessing, though the only example I have is from a Wordpress page.

The term “default position” refers to a belief (or lack of belief) that is preferable prior to debate or before any evidence is considered.

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Historians and the like call this tacit (or implicit) knowledge - things that were considered so obvious no-one ever bothered to write them down, but which may not be at all obvious centuries or millennia later.

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