of logic. He says quite generally: oratio constans ex duobus nominibus:28 The Logos is something that consists of two words. nomina [copulata] quidem in animo excitant cogitationem unius et ejusdem rei:29 The copulatio—copula—leads thinking and referring toward one and the same thing. The 'is' does not simply connect words, but concentrates its meaning on one and the same being. The copula is no mere connecting of words, but intervenes in the meaning of the words of an assertion, organizes them around one thing, makes them connected in this deeper sense. It thereby accomplishes something specific with respect to the inner construction of the logos. Hobbes says: Copulatio autem cogitationem inducit causae propter quam ea nomina illi rei imponuntur:30 The copulatio, in this peculiar concentrating of the meaning of the subject and predicate upon one and the same thing, provides the reason why the sequence of names refer to one and the same thing. Accordingly, the copula is not the sign of a mere connection, but points to that in which the connectedness is grounded. In what is it grounded? It is grounded in what the thing is, in its quid (what), in its quidditas. Whatever the attitude we take toward the details of this theory, which presents major difficulties in other respects, the important thing about it is that it indicates how the meaning of the 'is' in respect of its ground points back to those beings as such (the blackboard) which the assertion is about, and that it refers to these beings as the ground of the belonging together of what is connected in the statement. The meaning of the 'is' points back to beings as such in their what, essence and being-such.
The interpretation just outlined of the 'is' in the sense of what-being points in the direction of a further interpretation of the 'is' which, however one-sided it may be, touches upon something decisive. If we take an assertion in which what-being in the sense of essence is stated, such as the statement "The circle is round," then one can also interpret such a statement as follows: "By circle we understand something round," which is to say: "The word 'circle' means something round." The 'is' does not now tell us what a being whose meaning is referred to in itself is, rather the 'is' means the equivalent of: "The word means"—the circle is: the word 'circle' means. The fact that this interpretation is a very narrow one is indicated by the fact that it does not at all fit our example. By 'The board is black' we certainly do not intend to say that the word 'board' means 'being black'. Indeed, the interpretation is not even adequate in the case of the assertion 'The circle is round'. Nonetheless, we may not exclude this interpretation altogether, because there is indeed the possibility of understanding a statement such as "The circle is round" not merely immediately
28. Thomas Hobbes, Elementorum philosophiae sectio prima. De corpore. pars prima, sive Logica. Cap. III, 2. Opera philosophica, quae latine scripsit, omnia . Ed. G. Molesworth (London, 1839ff.). Vol. I, p. 27.
29. Ibid., cap. III, 3, p. 28.