EENI-Business School

Agnosticism and Business

Syllabus of the Subject- Agnosticism: Ethics and Business.

  1. Introduction to Agnosticism
  2. Bill Gates (Microsoft/Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation)
  3. Warren Buffett (Berkshire Hathaway)
  4. Giving Pledge
  5. Wole Soyinka (Nigerian Nobel Prize in Literature, Atheist)
  6. Famous Agnostics

The objectives of the subject “Agnosticism” are the following:

  1. To learn the pillars of Agnosticism
  2. To understand the ethical principles of Agnostics
  3. To analyse the figures of Agnostics entrepreneurs
The Subject “Agnosticism: Ethics and Business” is part of the following programs:
  1. Doctorate in Ethics, Religion, and Business (e-learning)

Learning materials in English or Spanish Agnosticismo French Agnosticisme

Sample of the subject - Agnosticism
Warren Buffett (US tycoon and philanthropist)

Description of the Subject: Agnosticism (Ethics and Business)

The term Agnosticism derived from the Greek: “a” - not “gnosis” - knowing, i.e., the significance would be the “non-knowledge.” Agnosticism is not a superior religion, but rather is a philosophy of life.

An agnostic admits that the human being, the finite, can neither understand nor reach the infinite, because of their ignorance, as cannot be demonstrated its non-existence, he/she adopts the agnostic position.

Agnosticism is as old as the history of the higher religions. Great philosophers, mathematicians, and writers have been defined as Agnostics. In the axial age, philosophers began to reflect on the lack of knowledge of God.

In the 19th century, the English writer and biologist Thomas H. Huxley, and one of the greatest defenders of the theory of evolution of Charles Darwin, father of the writer Aldous Huxley (“A happy world”) stated:

“So I took thought, and invented what I conceived to be the appropriate title of agnostic.”

The great historian Arnold Toynbee, in the first volumes of his monumental “Study of History” declared himself as agnostic, but in the latest volumes; he declared himself as Christian. The famous Spanish philosopher José Ortega and Gasset, warned of the dangers of Agnosticism, saying that it was a kind of surrender of man on the search for God.

Sri Ramakrishna reflects about Agnosticism:

“You see many stars in the sky at night, but not when the sun rises.
Can you, therefore, affirm that there are no stars in the heavens during the day?
O man, because you cannot find God in the days of your ignorance, say not that there is no God.”
Sri Ramakrishna.

In any case, the position of this paper is respecting those who feel agnostics, even bearing in mind the reflection of Ortega and Gasset.

It is hard to know exactly the number of Agnostics in the World, as many surveys do not differentiate between agnosticism and atheism. The Pew Institute estimated that 16% of the World's population does not believe in anything (included both agnosticism and atheism), according to this data agnosticism would be the third “belief” in the World by some people, behind Christianity and Islam.

Ethics and Agnosticism.

We do not believe that there is a direct relationship between ethics, business, and agnosticism, both in a positive sense as negative. An Agnostic can have strong ethical principles but also cannot have them. Therefore, it is not possible to define prior ethical principles of Agnostics.

However, one of the largest philanthropic initiatives in the West, “The Giving Pledge” has been created by two of the World's leading entrepreneurs: Bill Gates and Warren Buffett, both agnostics.

Bill Gates (Microsoft/Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation)
Philanthropic activities of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation

Some famous Agnostics.

  1. Businessperson: Warren Buffett, Bill Gates, Elon Musk (founder of Tesla Motors and PayPal), and George Soros
  2. Writers: Samuel Beckett (Nobel Prize Literature), Jorge Louis Borges, Albert Camus (Nobel Prize Literature), Arthur Conan Doyle, Aldous Huxley, Franz Kafka, Thomas Mann (Nobel Prize Literature), Vladimir Nabokov, Marcel Proust, and Emile Zola (1840-1902)
  3. Politics: Michelle Bachelet (former President of Chile), Helen Clark (New Zealand Prime Minister), François Hollande (President of France), Ricardo Lagos (Former President of Chile), Jawaharlal Nehru (former Prime Minister of India), and José Louis Rodríguez Zapatero (former President of Spain)

Ethics and business

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