Here in the introduction to his annotated edition of Aquinas’ Summa, Peter Kreeft the current state of intellectual discourse as one of the great “unsolved mysteries”.
If our question is vaguely or confusedly formulated, our answer will be too. If we do not consider opposing views, we spar without a partner and paw the air. If we do not do our homework, we only skim the shallows of our selves. If we do not prove our thesis, we are dogmatic, not critical. And if we do no understand and refute our opponents, we are left with nagging uncertainty that we have missed something and not really ended the contest.
Like Socratic dialogue for Plato, this medieval method of philosophizing was very fruitful in its own day – and then subsequently neglected, especially in our day. That is one of the unsolved mysteries of Western thought. Surely both the Socratic and the Thomistic methodological trees can still bear much good fruit. Perhaps what stands in the way is our craze for originality and our proud refusal to be anyone’s apprentice. I for one would be very happy to be Aquinas’ apprentice, or [even!] Socrates’.
This could be elaborated upon, but I think his quick theory at the end is largely spot-on.