chapter  IV
8 Pages

CUSTOMARY LAW

In Lucas’s opinion, the legal philosopher has to take cognizance of the habitual performance of certain rules which constitute an essential feature of individual and social life alike. The customary observance of those rules, he asserts, leads to the conclusion that habits, once they have become ingrained in man’s personality, may be envisaged as innate tendencies or propensities of the personality itself: ‘Quod consuetum est, est velut innatum’.1 It is, he maintains, man’s second nature which makes him perform certain actions habitually-‘consuetudo est altera natura’—and any deep-seated habit resembles a natural human disposition: ‘Similis est consuetudo naturae’.2 Lucas fully realizes the great sway habits hold over both man and society-‘gravissimum est imperium consuetudinis’3-recognizing, at the same time, that they diminish the volitional character of the action performed and its ethical value. He epitomizes this recognition in the dictum: ‘Omnia vim suam a consuetudine perdunt’.4 On the other hand, he holds, the fact must not be lost sight of that the habitual performance of ethically valuable actions tends to become part of the agent’s nature and raises in this way the ethical value of his character correspondingly: ‘Generaliter autem magna est virtus consuetudinis, nam consuetudo bene agendi vertitur in naturam’.5