one preliminary remark: this post could be of interest to anyone engaging with the thought of Hegel (especially his theoretical philosophy) or who is interested in fundamental metaphysical problems.
I'm currently reading Hegels Science of Logic and here i'm especially concerned with the nature of the beginning of what Hegel calls "science". As Hegels Logic provides not only to be a systematic work about a fleshed out domain of philosophical problems, but to be the fundamental text for his philosophy of Nature and his philosophy of Spirit, the beginning of the Logic is also the beginning of his system in general. Furthermore, as Hegel seems to see his philosophy as the pinnacle and consummation of philosophy in general, the beginning of the Logic should also be understood as the beginning of philosophy tout court.
So how does philosophy begin? Which thought is the first thought to start a systematic enquiry into the nature of being, nature and spirit? Hegel names this first thought of all thoughts simply "Being". Ok, so far so good but this doesn't explain much. To cut a long story short, i think there are basically two opposed camps of interpretive strategies that try to explain what is meant by "Being" at the beginning of the Logic. The first camp of interpreters is called the "non-metaphysical" reading of Hegel, the most famous of whom is probably Pippin. The non-metaphysical interpretation sees this first thought of Being as precisely what it seems to be, i.e. as a thought and nothing more. What follows out of this thought, that is the deductions that make up the remainder of the Logic, is basically the completion of Kants deduction of the categories, i.e. to provide the most general conceptual structures governing our thought. This means, that the non-metaphysical interpreters see the thought of Being as simply the most abstract category, out of which all of the other categories can be deduced. The second camp can is called the metaphysical interpreters. They stress the fact that Hegel sees himself as a full-blown metaphysician trying to show the validity of metaphysics as a science after Kant's critique of dogmatic metaphysics rendered the latter impossible. In this reading, the first thought of being is not only a thought determination, i.e. a category of the finite mind, but also the unmediated certainty of Being as such. That is, the first thought of Being not only establishes an awareness of the thought of being, but also of Being as such. This is why the remainder of the logic can not only be seen as a deduction of the determinations of thought, but also as a deduction of the categories of being. This is why thought and being are examined parallely in the logic, which also means that Hegel can show that being and thought are structurally identical.
This is perhaps confusing enough. In fact, i'm assuming that you are familiar with the debate, which is why i won't elaborate any further on the central point of contestation, which would be definitely necessary if you never heard of it. However, I basically think that the metaphysical reading is true, because the construction of a non-metaphysical Hegel seems just ridiculous to me. However, within the metaphysical reading, do you think that Hegel can be seen as subverting Descartes' thought experiment? One could read the beginning of the Logic as a kind of universal doubt thought experiment. But this does not lead to the fundamental principle of the cogito, as in Descartes, but to the fundamental principle of Being, which is both the most abstract thought possible and the immediate certainty of Being qua Being, thus establishing the parallelism of thought and being and by the same token the objective validity of the categories of thought as categories of being. What do you think? Can Hegel be seen as a foundationalist in this pseudo-Descartian sense?