This is the context:

Paulson: Danny Kahneman, how big a question is this in science, consciousness?

Kahneman: Well, that’s very odd. I’m in a minority because for some reason I’m one of those people who never got myself completely fascinated by this question [audience laughter]. And in part this is because I never could imagine what an answer to that question would be.

source: The enigma of human consciousness.New York Academy of Sciences.

So, I was wondering what is the meaning of got yourself feeling something? Does it mean I never remember being fascinated by this question?


To 'get oneself feeling something' implies a willing, intentional effort. It is not the same as simply feeling something. I felt sad when my dog died. I could not get myself feeling (or to feel) sad when I watched 'Titanic'. Kahneman is saying he never felt 'inclined to become fascinated by' (or 'interested in') the question of consciousness in science.

  • Is this a regular expression in English? Can anyone be fascinated at something intentional? Dec 8 '19 at 21:00
  • Yes. At this time of year, in my country, many people try deliberately make themselves 'feel Christmassy', due to social pressure, and some fail due to lack of enthusiasm. I suspect Professor Kahneman used the expression to allude to social pressure in the science community, pressure to be interested in 'consiousness' in science. Dec 8 '19 at 21:29
  • Thank you. And the last question. "I never could imagine what an answer to that question would be". Can you explain this part too. "would be" makes me confused. Can I replace it with can be? Dec 8 '19 at 21:42
  • We use 'would' about hypothetical things, often, as here, things considered unlikely. I could never imagine what a two-headed dog would look like. Dec 8 '19 at 22:53

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