People often assume that there's a basic difference in philosophical-methodological temperament between (say) utilitarians and "common-sense" deontologists. Deontologists, it is said, feel strongly constrained by their intuitions about particular cases, whereas utilitarians are more wedded to theoretical virtues of simplicity and parsimony, and hence are willing to endorse their theory despite its counterintuitive implications.
I'm somewhat resistant to this characterization. My own (roughly) utilitarian views are, I think, more driven by intuition than by concern for parsimony or the like. (I don't think that parsimony really counts for very much at all in philosophy. Though avoiding ad hoc or unmotivated distinctions certainly does.) I think it's important to accommodate common sense, though this needn't involve just taking common sense at face value. Thinking more about this, I figure there are three importantly different ways of rejecting a prima facie intuition that goes against your view. In order of decreasing palatability, they are:
(1) Show that the intuition is merely prima facie, and can be satisfactorily explained away on closer reflection. I think that this is the case for the standard counterexamples to consequentialism, for example.
(2) Show that a compelling intuition is outweighed by an even more compelling competing intuition. I think this is how utilitarians need to respond to objections from partiality. (And I'm not confident that it's ultimately successful.) Yes, it is compelling to think that we've special reason to care more for our loved ones than for total strangers. On the other hand, the theoretical intuition that all people matter equally and hence merit equal consideration is pretty compelling too. So there's a real conflict here, and I think people could reasonable go either way on it. (Many issues in population ethics also fall in this region, I believe.)
(3) Simply reject a compelling intuition on purely formal grounds, such as parsimony (perhaps together with some sort of "debunking" explanation of why people might have the intuition, but not one that makes the intuition seem any less compelling, in contrast to #1 above). This seems to be what hedonists are forced into, for example, when faced with compelling examples of objective goods such as love and friendship. This strikes me as a bad move, and not one that I'd want to be associated with.
What do you think?