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This depends partly on the terms of the insurance and partly on the laws. I work as an actuary and at the moment our company's rules are:

  • if the price of the insurance depends on your occupation, you are obliged to report if your occupation has changed and your premiums may be reset to new values (higher or lower)
  • if the price depends on whether you smoke, you aren't obliged to report when you start, but we reserve the right to ask you and then you must truthfully answer (and then the premiums may change)
  • if the price depends on you weight, only your weight at the insurance start date is important, no need to report later changes (and even if you do - e.g. in case you sign another insurance - your old premiums remain intact)
  • if you lie or violate your obligations to report, your benefits may be cut in the ratio of your actually paid premiums and the premiums you would counterfactually pay if you hadn't lied (this is, more or less, specified by the law)

We don't sell any policies which are more expensive for people who are less likely to die (such as pure endowments), but even if we did, I find it hard to imagine that we'd offer lower price for smokers. That would be pretty bad marketing - "insurance company XY motivates their clients to smoke" makes for a pretty diappointing headline. Suing a client for quitting smoking? Unthinkable.

By the way, if I decide to invest in my retirement, I'd want to buy pure annuity without any guarantee or death insurace; I'll need the money if I survive to old age. Unfortunately I don't even know whether such products are ever sold, people clearly prefer to have a guaranteed 10 year annuity or fund transfer to their heirs in case of death or whatever similar, since they are now certain that the insurance company doesn't consume their savings if they die. But it makes the insurance significantly more expensive and most of the advantage the insurance has over bank savings is lost.

I suppose the cap limits the pensions provided by the state and you can in principle buy a private life insurance to increase the payoff, right?

Not life in general, but your life, to you.

By "value of life in general" I meant value of one's own life for oneself (the "in general" qualifier was there to mark the absence of "qua man").

Playing the essentialism card allowed her to smuggle in a boatload of values masquerading as implicit in the choice between life and death. The requirements for your concrete life get subordinated to the standards of Man's life qua Man. And then it's "Man can't live as this, Man can't live as that", no matter how many men have managed to do so.

That's what I find most annoying and in the same time bizarre with Objectivism. On the one hand, it asserts that my life belongs to me and nobody else, on the other hand it prescribes what I am entitled to do with my life and what not, lest be considered a looter. Among other freedoms, I want my freedom to be altruistic if I choose to.

I had always been under impression that the value of life "qua man" is derived from the value of life in general, because human life which is not "qua man" is actually equivalent to death, as living "qua man", whatever it means, makes one human. Am I mistaken?

I think you are right in your second objection, there is some limited role for observation in Objectivist philosophy.

What is the difference between rationality and objectivism?

I have had few discussions with Objectivists and read few other discussions where Objectivists took part and I haven't seen particularly high level of rationality there. Objectivism as actually practiced is a political ideology with all downsides - fallacious arguments of all kinds, tight connection between beliefs and personal identity, regarding any opposition as a threat to morality by default and so on.

Objectivism as philosophy is a mix of beliefs often mutually incompatible, connected by vague net of equivocations. You may have been mislead by the etymology of "Objectivism" to thinking that belief in objective reality and morality is the distinguishing characteristic belief of Objectivists. But it is not so. To be an Objectivist, you ideally have to agree that

  • For all X, X=X
  • The only terminal value is survival.
  • There are natural human rights to life, property and liberty, and no other rights.
  • Selfishness is a virtue and altruism is a vice.
  • Laissez-faire capitalism with minimal to non-existent state is the only moral political system.
  • All above could be derived step by step by mere logic from the first axiom, no observational data needed.
  • Ayn Rand was one of the greatest thinkers of 20th century (and perhaps of all history of mankind).

That "there is only one true way of some things" is not a steelman version of Rand's Objectivism, it's a vague nearly tautological statement which almost everyone is bound to agree with, Objectivist or not.

3 meters underwater is about 30% of atmospheric pressure added, not mere 10%.

Just out of curiosity, what population did you expect Japan to have?

As for the Portugal/Ireland thing, one could easily blame the conically projected maps which conventionally have the 15th (or so) eastern meridian vertical, making Portugal's 5th western meridian slanted and pushing poor Portugal more to the left than the more northern Ireland.

And it is easy to underestimate the east-west dimensions of Italy. We tend to assume that it is hanging freely from below the Alps, right down as a pendulum in equilibrium should, while actually it is tilted almost 45 degrees to the right. The region commonly refered to as "south Italy" could be as easily be described as "east Italy", although that strangely never happens.

Similar thing happens to Norway. Northern Norway can be as far east as Cairo or Kiev, which only few people realise.

Most Irishmen at least know a little Gaelic as they have to learn it at school. The map has worse inaccuracies. Occitan and Low German aren't even official and are spoken by tiny minorities, contrary to the impression one could easily get from the map. Ingrian is effectively dead with 500 speakers according to Wikipedia. The Czech-German bilingual area in western Bohemia is completely made up (it even doesn't correspond to the pre-WWII German speaking area). The Hungarian speaking area in Romania should be centered a bit more to the north-west. Breton isn't and never wasn't spoken in the pink-dotted locations. There is a German minority in Polish Silesia, but again the area should be smaller.

Not speaking about the language names and their spelling which reveal French origins of the map.

I know very little about schools in your country

Whose country? Viliam_Bur's country is most probably not the same country as the OP author's.

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