This chapter discusses ramifications of the fact that terms in language and thought can be necessarily about whatever they are about for a problem inherited from Kripke: how to reconcile commitment to various necessities with conflicting intuitions of contingency. Kripke’s own reconciliation involves adducing a distinct notion of epistemic possibility so that we can say that the conflicting intuitions of contingency concern a distinct epistemic modality. It is shown, however, that such a strategy is problematic if viewed through the methodological lens (to which Kripke is otherwise committed) of considering our overall epistemic situation as comprised of certain cognitive facts—among them facts of aboutness. Alternative explanations for our intuitions of contingency are then offered that extend the diagnosis presented in Chapter 1.
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