The question pretty much explains itself. I'm interested in instances of ontological arguments (arguments purporting to prove the existence of God/Gods/a God) outside the Western tradition and/or outside scholastic theology.

To explain what is not an answer: Godel's or Platinga's arguments, although not strictly theological, are still part of what I consider the Western canon. Spinozistic pantheism is also not an answer.

And to explain my motivation: It seems to me that no such arguments exist. And if they don't I think it also goes some way in proving a conjecture I've been entertaining for some time, namely that it is only the Western tradition that adopted the paradigm that God and human rationality are separable although not mutually exclusive domains - and that, therefore, human reason could approach God from the "outside" and gauge his existence thus. Essentially, only the Western tradition allowed for an introspective God - introspective because if he is said to exist and if human reason can prove his existence then it is the same as saying that He proves His own existence (to Himself.)


The Nyaya school of Vedic Philosophers gave some arguments for the proof of existence of god. Their arguments are apparently not very logical (or so the wiki page makes them seem like). Some of them, like the one of infinite causes, are mirrors of proofs forwarded by other people in the western philosophical systems.

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    The wiki page is a disaster! But thumbs up to your answer. – Prateek Mishra Jun 10 '11 at 7:18

Wikipedia says that some scholars think Avicenna advanced a form of ontological argument. But that still may be rather too Western for your purposes. (There is also significant doubt as to the validity of that view.)


Since the argument is only useful for a monotheistic god ("than which nothing greater can be thought"), it would be surprising if a non-monotheistic thinker would propose such an argument. Since monotheism is primarily found in the West, we should expect Ontological argument to most often observed in Western philosophy.

But I'm wondering why you don't cut to the chase and search for non-Western examples of an "introspective God". It's also not clear to me why the Ontological argument's absence (as opposed to other attempts to prove God's existence) in non-Western philosophy would be helpful to proving your conjecture.

  • I'm not sure why you would say that, "monotheism is primarily found in the West". Most of the Oriental religions, including Hinduism are Monotheistic. – Prateek Mishra Jun 10 '11 at 7:14
  • @Prateek: That may be so, but I have a difficult time accepting any generalized statements about Hinduism. From the outside at least, it's a very diverse belief system. I really don't know how you can say that "most of the Oriental religions ... are Monotheistic." That is not at all my impression. And of course, there is a difference between Oriental and non-Western. ;-) – Jon Ericson Jun 10 '11 at 16:15

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