The several steps or stages of the Speculative Method are, first of all, (a) the Beginning, which is Being or Immediacy: self subsistent, for the simple reason that it is the beginning. But looked at from the speculative idea, Being is its self specialising act, which as the absolute negativity or movement of the notion makes a judgement and puts itself as its own negative. Being, which to the beginning as beginning seems mere abstract affirmation, is thus rather negation, dependency, derivation, and presupposition. But it is the notion of which Being is the negation: and the notion is completely self identical in its otherness, and is the certainty of itself. Being therefore is the notion implicit, before it has been explicitly put as a notion. This Being therefore, as the still unspecified notion a notion that is only implicitly or 'immediately' specified is equally describable as the Universal.
When it means immediate being, the beginning is taken from sensation and perception the initial stage in the analytical method of finite cognition. When it means universality, it is the beginning of the systematic method. But since the Logical Idea is as much a universal as it is in being since it is presupposed by the notion as much as it itself immediately is, its beginning is a synthetic as well as an analytical beginning.
Philosophical method is analytical as well as synthetic, not indeed in the sense of a bare juxtaposition or mere alternating employment of these two methods of finite cognition, but rather in such a way that it holds them merged in itself. In every one of its movements therefore it displays an attitude at once analytical and synthetic. Philosophical thought proceeds analytically, in so far as it only accepts its object, the Idea, and while allowing it its own way, is only, as it were, an onlooker at its movement and development. To this extent philosophising is wholly passive. Philosophic thought however is equally synthetic, and evinces itself to be the action of the notion itself. To that end, however, there is required an effort to keep back the incessant impertinence of our own fancies and private opinions.
(b) The Advance renders explicit the judgement implicit in the Idea. The immediate universal, as the notion implicit, is the dialectical force which on its own part deposes its immediacy and universality to the level of a mere stage or 'moment'. Thus is put the negative of the beginning, its specific character: it supposes a correlative, a relation of different terms the stage of Reflection.
Seeing that the immanent dialectic only states explicitly what was involved in the immediate notion, this advance is Analytical; but seeing that in this notion this distinction was not yet stated, it is equally Synthetic.
In the advance of the idea, the beginning exhibits itself as what it is implicitly. It is seen to be mediated and derivative, and neither to have proper being nor proper immediacy. It is only for the consciousness which is itself immediate, that Nature forms the commencement or immediacy and that Spirit appears as what is mediated by Nature. The truth, indeed, is that Nature is posited by Spirit, and Spirit itself in turn, uses Nature as its presupposition.
The abstract form of the advance is, in Being, an other and transition into an other; in Essence showing or reflection in the opposite; in Notion, the distinction of individual from universality, which continues itself as such into, and is as an identity with, what is distinguished from it.
In the second sphere the primarily implicit notion has come as far as shining, and thus is already the idea in germ. The development of this sphere becomes a regress into the first, just as the development of the first is a transition into the second. It is only by means of this double movement, that the difference first gets its due, when each of the two members distinguished, observed on its own part, completes itself to the totality, and in this way works out its unity with the other. It is only by both merging their one sidedness on their own part, that their unity is kept from becoming one sided.