The Matrix naturally adopts the perspective of the humans: they are the victims, the slaves, cruelly exploited by the machines. But there is another perspective, that of the machines themselves. […] The machines need to factory farm the humans, as a direct result of the humans’ trying to exterminate the machines, but they do so as painlessly as possible. Compared to the way the humans used to treat their own factory-farm animals—their own fuel cells-the machines are models of caring livestock husbandry.
Colin McGinn, ‘The Matrix of Dreams’, in Christopher Grau (ed.), Philosophers Explore The Matrix, New York, 2005, pp. 62-63
It is by no means inconceivable that the special character of our art and our personal relationships depends upon the cognitive biases and limits that prevent us handling philosophical problems, so that philosophical aptitude would deprive our lives of much of their point. Philosophy might require even more self-sacrifice than has traditionally been conceded.
Colin McGinn, Problems in Philosophy: The Limits of Inquiry, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1993, p. 156
At a conference a group of philosophers were playing guitars and singing folk songs after the formal sessions were over. They asked Kripke to join in and he replied “If anyone else did, that would be the end of it, but if I do, it will be just another Kripke anecdote.” (This is what we philosophers call technically a “meta anecdote.”)
Colin McGinn, The Making of a Philosopher: My Journey Through Twentieth-Century Philosophy, New York, 2002, p. 67
[M]orality is founded in a sense of the contingency of the world, and it is powered by the ability to envisage alternatives. Imagination is central to its operations. The morally complacent person is the person who cannot conceive how things could have been different; he or she fails to appreciate the role of luck—itself a concept that relies on imagining alternatives. There is no point in seeking change if this is the way things have to be. Morality is thus based on modality: that is, on a mastery of the concepts of necessity and possibility. To be able to think morally is to be able to think modally. Specifically, it depends upon seeing other possibilities—not taking the actual as the necessary.
Colin McGinn, ‘Apes, Humans, Aliens, Vampires and Robots’, in Paola Cavalieri and Peter Singer (eds.), The Great Ape Project: Equality Beyond Humanity, New York, 1993, p. 147
[M]orality is an inevitable corollary of evolutionarily useful intelligence: in becoming rational animals human beings, eo ipso, became creatures endowed with moral sense. It is important to this explanation that practical rationality be inseparable from susceptibility to moral requirements; for if it were possible to possess the one faculty without the other, then evolution could afford to dispense with morality while retaining reason. But I think that the Kantian thesis is right that rationality implies moral sense. If they are thus inseparable, then the price of eliminating morality from a species would be the elimination of (advanced) rationality from it; and, given the advantages of the latter, the price is too great.
Colin McGinn, ‘Evolution, Animals and the Basis of Morality’, Inquiry, vol. 22, no. 1 (1979), p. 93