Now available in the Veritas  series from Cascade Books (Wipf & Stock):
Subordinated Ethics: Natural Law and Moral Miscellany in Aquinas and Dostoyevsky, by Caitlin Smith Gilson, with a foreword by Eric Austin Lee.
With Dostoyevsky’s Idiot and Aquinas’ Dumb Ox as guides, this book seeks to recover the elemental mystery of the natural law, a law revealed only in wonder. If ethics is to guide us along the way, it must recover its subordination; description must precede prescription. If ethics is to invite us along the way, it cannot lead, either as politburo, or even as public orthodoxy. It cannot be smugly symbolic but must be by way of signage, of directionality, of the open realization that ethical meaning is en route, pointing the way because it is within the way, as only sign, not symbol, can point to the sacramental terminus. The courtesies of dogma and tradition are the road signs and guideposts along the longior via, not themselves the termini. We seek the dialogic heart of the natural law through two seemingly contradictory voices and approaches: St. Thomas Aquinas and his famous five ways, and Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s holy idiot, Prince Myshkin. It is precisely the apparent miscellany of these selected voices that provide us with a connatural invitation into the natural law as subordinated, as descriptive guide, not as prescriptive leader.
Endorsements & Reviews:
“Drawing on an astonishingly diverse array of sources, Caitlin Smith Gilson retrieves the life-giving reality of morality by recalling its mediating subordination to what remains first and ever greater: the mystery of being and the presence of God.”
— D. C. Schindler, author of Love and the Postmodern Predicament
“Caitlin Gilson is very much at the heart of the personalist revolution, one that not only philosophizes about persons but out of persons. The fixities that had long encumbered traditional formulations are made to live again and we see that their source had always derived from what Dostoevsky referred to as ‘living life.’ Subordinated Ethics is a tour de force that illumines the interiority of the ethical life while connecting it with an enlargement of the perspective of existential metaphysics in St. Thomas.”
— David J. Walsh, Catholic University of America
“Subordinated Ethics is yet another testament to the ever-surprising mind of its author, characterized equally by an alpine clarity of thought and a sublimely poetic sensibility. Smith Gilson interprets Aquinas’ Five Ways and Dostoevsky’s Idiot together with such deftness, urgency, and joyful effulgence that neither can be read the same way again. The book is an astonishing paean to polyphony, play, contingency, wonder, beauty, virtue, and love in the purity and mystery of its givenness.”
— Jennifer Newsome Martin, University of Notre Dame