Death of a Guest

Professor Brian Keating
4 min readApr 25, 2024

Something unprecedented in my career as a podcast host happened this week, shaking me to my core. It was the first time a guest on The INTO THE IMPOSSIBLE Podcast had died before his interview was aired. I debated whether or not I should release the episode but decided to do so in the spirit of sharing his message with the world. Daniel Dennett, a towering intellect, Professor, philosopher, and public intellectual, passed away on Friday, April 19.

The passing of a man I had interviewed just weeks before his departure hit me deeply and poignantly and made me reflect on life’s brevity and precious nature. Dan had just shared what would unknowingly become his final thoughts and words on my podcast. It feels like an awesome responsibilty for me to get it right. I hope I did and, in doing so, paid tribute to this titanic intellect.

Dennett, a philosopher whose work traversed the complexities of consciousness and human understanding, left an indelible mark not only on the fields he so passionately explored but also on those of us fortunate enough to encounter his thoughts and ideas. As I reflect on our conversation, filled with laughter and intellectual curiosity, it strikes a deep chord about how precious each interaction we share truly is. Daniel brought to our discussion a richness that now feels all the more precious in the wake of his passing — a final gift from a brilliant mind.

His contributions stretched far beyond the academic halls, touching lives across the globe with insights that challenged and expanded our perceptions. The shock of his passing is felt deeply, a somber reminder that while intellectual giants may seem larger than life, they, too, are subject to life’s immutable call. The discussion we shared, now tinged with a somber hue, stands as a testament to his enduring legacy, punctuated by his relentless pursuit of knowledge and understanding.

May this reflection serve as a reminder to embrace the present with passion and purpose, just as Dan did with every book, every debate, and every interview. Life’s dance is fleeting. It passes as a shadow in the night. Cherish it while you can. Rest in peace, Dan, wherever you are.

Have a M.A.G.I.C. week,



I joined Neil deGrasse Tyson on his podcast StarTalk!

Watch it here!


How Aristotle Created The Computer by Chris Dixon caught my eye.

You can read it here.


The Antennae Galaxies, NGC 4038, 4039 Some 60 million light-years away in the southerly constellation Corvus, two large galaxies collide. Stars in the two galaxies, cataloged as NGC 4038 and NGC 4039, rarely collide in the ponderous cataclysm that lasts for hundreds of millions of years.

This beautiful image is courtesy of my friend Mike Adler [link]


As I mentioned above, shortly after our interview, Daniel sadly passed away at the age of 82. He was a renowned philosopher, thought-provoking writer, brilliant cognitive scientist, and vocal atheist. He was the co-director of the Center for Cognitive Studies, the Austin B. Fletcher Professor of Philosophy at Tufts University in Massachusetts, a member of the editorial board for The Rutherford Journal, and a co-founder of The Clergy Project.

Known as one of the “Four Horsemen” of New Atheism, he was at the forefront of discussions on consciousness, free will, and the impact of Darwinian evolution on religious belief. Dennett’s works, including “Breaking the Spell” and “Consciousness Explained,” have provoked both admiration and controversy, challenging readers to reconsider deeply held beliefs about the mind and its relationship to the physical world.

Needless to say, I was thrilled to have Dan on the show! The world has truly lost an extraordinary soul and a groundbreaking thinker.

Rest in peace, Dan….

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Professor Brian Keating

Chancellor’s Distinguished Professor at UC San Diego. Host of The INTO THE IMPOSSIBLE Podcast Authored: Losing the Nobel Prize & Think like a Nobel Prize Winner