The republic of letters was an intellectual community that took shape in the Enlightenment. And just like writers' festivals, it had rules about who could speak.
Australians have reason to be apprehensive that some civil voices are not being heard in our liberal democracy.
The assisted dying bill in Victoria – complex and significant – is engendering less heated debate than marriage equality although both tap into some of our most fundamental fears and motivations.
We need to get beyond hyperbole and half-truths from those both for and against marriage equality, and go back to basics.
Tom Nichols' book The Death of Expertise examines why the relationship between experts and citizens in a democracy is collapsing, and what can be done about it.
Academic analysis is often ignored – and this is an indictment not of readers, but of academics.
Social media is a key platform for public debate. But that doesn't mean it's necessarily good.