Ok, this is awkward.
a, which is what I expected, BUT,
is not evaluated at all (I expected the result to be
a—this is actually an MWE, what I was trying to do was more complex).
Since I still struggle to understand some of Mathematica's concepts (like when expressions are/n't evaluated), I thought (wrongly, it seems) that it was an
Assumptions issue, but now I think it wasn't. I tried:
Assuming[a ∈ Reals, Log[E^a]] // Evaluate Assuming[a > 0, Log[Exp[a]]] // Simplify
and other variants—which in turn shows that I'm giving a shot in the dark.
What is the explanation for this behavior? How do I get to
a? Am I missing an assumption? I don't really care about any weird special cases,
a is real, not complex, nor a function, nor anything else.
It obviously seems that I'm missing something (possibly very simple and obvious), but I can't figure out what.