It gets worse.
There was a second post from McGinn, explaining and self-defending some more. It too is now unfindable, but Bill Benzon at Crooked Timber quotes enough to get the astonishing drift.
From McGinn’s post on The Genius Project:
The student (hereafter NN) and I were engaged on what we called “the Genius Project”. The purpose of the genius project was to make NN into a truly original and outstanding young philosopher (one who could expect to find an attractive job later). Part of this project involved techniques for encouraging unconventional thinking, and the concept of “taboo-busting” was deemed helpful towards this end.
Toward the end:
Most of the genius project took a more conventional form, but it is within this context that they [two email messages] should be interpreted. They were not just gratuitous snippets of risque prose, sent out of the blue. I believe that had the genius project continued it would have borne significant fruit; and indeed a colleague has remarked to me that NN’s philosophical abilities went from “good” to “superb” following the several months during which I was attempting to make her into a “genius”.
You have got to be kidding.