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Historical a Priori

# Historical a Priori

The positivities (see above) that constitute discursive formations and relations form a ‘historical a priori, a level of historical language which other modes of analysis depend on but fail to address. Discourse functions at the level of ‘things said;’ thus, any analysis of the formal structure, hidden meaning, or psychological traces of discourse take the level of discourse itself for granted, as a kind of raw material that is difficult to recognize due to its operation at the level of existence itself. It is important to note that the historical a priori constituted by the positivity of discourse is not an a priori in the usual sense of a formal philosophical principle. Instead, the historical a priori is simply a feature of the level of discourse as opposed to other levels of analysis; it does not remain stable as a single principle with a single content, but rather shifts with the transformations of the positivities themselves.