“… because in every one habit [ethos; Bekker: consuetudo]
is a matter of importance, since it soon becomes a second nature [physis]”
Aristotle, Problemata, XXVIII
I will argue that there are entities that can be plausibly called ‘conventions’, which are neither mere de facto regularities, nor rules (norms), but that – in a sense to be specified – have both the character of de facto regularities, as well as a normative character: they are, literally, ‘normative facts’. This paper attempts to isolate these entities.
The matter is delicate. Philosophers usually distinguish, and with good reason, between rules and regularities, between facts and norms. In each pair, the two concepts are thought of as mutually exclusive. The distinction is intuitive, and it appears, at first sight at least, incontrovertible. The entities that we are trying to isolate are, mostly, at the edge of our visual field – and delimit it. For this reason, they usually go unnoticed, and to see them we ne...