I've grown accustomed to seeing the term "always already" in works of shabby philosophy. I once figured that the term was employed by philosophers who could not bear to use a term like "necessarily": That which is "always already" the case is that which is necessarily the case.
Then I began to think that "always already" was a happily non-Kantian-sounding way of deploying a transcendental argument: That which we are "always already" committed to is that which supplies the conditions for (the possibility of) reflection itself, or some such. In any case, I figured that the expression was popular among a certain stripe of philosopher because it was imprecise and flaky but sounded sophisticated.
However, I'm now finding the term in the work of more respectable philosophers. Can anyone tell me in non-obscurantist language what it means to say, for example, that "we are always already under an obligation to X" (where X names some action)?