logic, subsequent and more recent theories are very diverse precisely with respect to the way in which the copula, the 'is', is conceived. Although it would be very instructive, we cannot discuss even the major theories in detail here. However, we shall try to explicate the possible interpretations of the copula by way of a concrete example, not in order to prove that philosophers always and everywhere have different opinions, but in order to ask whether this manifold of theories is arbitrary, or whether this manifold springs from the essence of what the theories deal with. Does the 'is' itself give rise to this manifold? Is it inherently equivocal? Is this equivocality necessary, and what is it grounded in? If we pursue these questions in the correct way, we shall return with an improved understanding for the main problem: What is the relation of the 'is' to the overall structure of the λόγος ἀποφαντικός and to what conditions it—to σύνθεσις and διαίρεσις, and to the 'as' (being
Let us first, by way of a simple example, attempt to explicate the manifold of possible interpretations of the copula, without going into the individual theories in any great historical detail. We shall choose as an example the statement: "This board is black." How do things stand concerning the 'is'? What does it mean, what does it refer to? What meaning does it have? If we ask quite naively in the direction of our ordinary understanding, for example, the situation appears to be as follows: We have before us the statement: This board is black. Here we see that the 'is' lies between the subject-term and the predicate-term, and does so in such a way as to connect the one with the other. The 'is' functions as a "connection." This is why it is called the copula. This naming of the 'is' as copula is not a harmless way of naming it, but a particular interpretation of it, oriented toward the way in which the term functions in the structure of the statement. The initial question here does not concern what this 'is' and being mean, but concerns the meaning of the 'is' in the sense of what function the 'is' has, what role it plays in the sentence structure. If one takes the propositional statement in this way, as a given word-structure, then the 'is' indeed appears as a copula. However, when Aristotle and Kant say that the εἶναι and the 'is' are σύνθεσις and a connecting concept, then there is more at stake here than merely characterizing the 'is' with respect to its position as a term in that word-structure of the statement. There is "more" at stake—and yet, when taken as a 'connection', the 'is' is also oriented toward the linguistic function of the term. 'Is' and being then mean connectedness, 'is' means: something is connected with, stands in connection with (respectus logicus). If we repeat the statement: The board is black, then according to this interpretation we ought to be referring to the fact that the board and black stand in a connectedness. The board's being black means a connectedness of black and board.
Is this what we are referring to when we straightforwardly make this statement?