Benefaction proper and surrogation

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The semantic role of beneficiary is usually conceptualized in very general terms, typically without an intensional definition of what can constitute a benefit in the particular construction under study. Among those accounts that have proposed to discuss benefaction as related to the notion(s) of surrogation, substituting, and/or deputing, Kittilä (2005) proposes a distinction between recipients, beneficiaries, and recipient-beneficiaries based on the binary features [reception] and [substitutive benefaction]; the recipient includes only reception (and the beneficiary only substitutive benefaction), whereas both features are relevant with recipient-beneficiaries.

This chapter proposes an alternative account (i) by defining benefaction proper in terms of a prototype related to possession (and thereby to reception) and a periphery, and (ii) by defining surrogation as a separate notion that can, but need not, coalesce with benefaction proper. Thus, the beneficiaries’ condition improves because they are relieved from having to carry out a given action themselves.


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