Query: Source for feminist rejection of altruism?

It has been many years since I read varieties of feminist argumentation that traditional arguments about altruism ought to be rejected insofar as they tend to rely on a self-versus-other ontology, in which acting for another involves absolute sacrifice of a self.  I was persuaded by relational accounts that said this is a metaphysically impoverished and cognitively antiquated view of acting in the interests of people who aren’t oneself.  But when asked for a source of this view today, I was rather at a loss.

I mean, sure, I can say, “Oh, read all of Held and Noddings and most of Kittay.”  But that’s vague.  Anyone have more specific suggestions?

3 thoughts on “Query: Source for feminist rejection of altruism?

  1. Jean Hampton has a related paper Social Philosophy & Policy, vol. 10, no. 1 (1993), pp. 135-165
    “SELFLESSNESS AND THE LOSS OF SELF,” By JEAN HAMPTON and also Frances Kamm writing on Jean Hampton, “The noble warrior: Feminism, contractarianism, and self in the light of Hampton,”
    Philosophical Studies 89 (2-3):237-258 (1998). Probably not your standard feminist criticisms of altruism but feminist criticisms of altruism nonetheless.

  2. Not usually considered a feminist but Alasdair MacIntyre argues something like this in Dependent Rational Animals (1999), a book in which he references Kittay, Held and Noddings. It’s at the beginning of chapter 10 THE VIRTUES OF ACKNOWLEDGED DEPENDENCE. Here he rejects altruism on the basis that a blandly generalised benevolence presents us with the generalised Other towards whom we can act benevolent and reassure ourselves of being a good person, in place of those particular others with whom we participate in ongoing relationships and share common goods with. Altruism is therefore just another form of egoism

  3. Oh, Hoagland! That is, it was Sarah Hoagland’s “Some Thoughts about Caring,” in Feminist Ethics, ed. by Claudia Card. But thanks to you both for these references, which I used to backtrack to the one I was trying to remember. And now I’ve got some reading to do!

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