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I mean, how do you know "what the characters would know independent of players", especially in these examples?
I have to ask the same thing: without the feat, how much memorizing can a character legally do before it invalidates that part of the feat? 20%? 50%? Does the GM need to arrange for a test like your Odysseus example and require a minimum amount of wrong answers? If the player gets them all right, does the GM determine at random which questions the player mandatorily got wrong?
Should "my character has 20+ Int, assume I memorized literally everything that has been said near me in the past 24 hours" be a thing? What about if a player just pays literally no attention during the entire mission briefing - do you just give them the relevant conclusions that they'd have gotten had they asked the right questions, because the character would have been paying attention to ask those?
Exploration mode already has "assume I'm doing (detect magic, readying a shield, searching for traps) unless I say otherwise, so I don't see why not? I would agree that "everything", and "near me" might need some specification, but should at least include what the GM is telling the players (since that definitionally is something their characters are paying attention to and interacting with).
To answer your second question, though, I would equate it to the character being in a combat and the player not paying attention or caring about his character, and then ask what happens there. Independent of the player, the character still has a survival instinct of his own. Does he get the attack rolls he would be making had the player cared about the combat?
If you give the player/character information that they theoretically could have known but don't, that's no different than handing them the Bestiary of monster info that they theoretically know.
Agreed regarding the theoretical information. I disagree that "information the GM directly told the players because that is what their characters definitionally paid attention to and interacted with" can fall under that parameter. Meaning that the GM reminding the player of what he already said, which is outside the information they theoretically could have known because they definitionally did know it, is NOT the same as handing over the Bestiary.