I have called this Point 4.
4. As for culture, one of the books that is a "Bible" to me is "Sick Societies," a book by a renegade anthropologist who takes the position that cultures can be pathological as well as individuals - and his definition is a cultural rule that damages it's members is pathological. (Note: he's not saying "them vs. us" - he cites quite a few pathologies in our own.). I agree that people experience things differently in whatever culture and time they are in - but often, cultural relativism is a product of distance. Foot binding in China, for example - was given a sophisticated context, including sexual fetishism, a particular attitude towards women, etc. We can explain it away, and explain it deeply - it was still mutilation at core, and inflicted terrible pain.
PAG. I take it you mean the book by Robert B Edgerton, who also wrote Warriors of the Rising Son: A History of the Japanese Military
. Incidentally, have you come across the work of Colin Turnbull? He wrote a triad of books: The Forest People
(1961); The Mountain People
(1973); The Human Cycle
(1983). The second work cited deals with the Ik, an African tribe considered to be too poor even for morality to exist there. Turnbull's portrayal of the Ik raises a host of issues, especially those of objectivity and cultural divergence. As I have stated in previous TIE columns, the model of culture and cross-cultural studies I have used is that by Geert Hofstede, in Culture's Consequences
, and in, Culture and Organizations: Software of the Mind
pp. 9-15; Culture and Organizations
, pp. 2-11). Similar issues concern Hofsteede's analyses, especially those involved in making cross-cultural comparisons, which is something that nearly all the Japanese I have met do most of the time.