I’m largely in agreement, and have a few thoughts…
*It’s certainly a bit jarring to begin sentences with the word “I,” and in English we have the additional problem that it’s a one-letter word and thus leads to momentary visual confusion when appearing right after the previous period. So, I try to avoid doing that too much.
*Up until the mid-1990’s or so, I always used the third-person “we” in papers rather than “I”. There are always a few people who make snotty remarks about that technique, calling it “the madman’s we” or “the royal we”, or whatever. I used to ignore those remarks. But then I read an essay that called the use of the we “phony,” and though that might be a bit much, I saw a point to it. I tried “I” from then on, and it seemed to work well for me, and I’ve never stopped since then.
*Some extremely good writers do prefer to avoid the use of “I”. Alphonso Lingis, the best stylist I’ve known personally, continues to use “we” in his academic-philosophical essays, and in his more visceral travel-philosophy stuff gets around it by using “you” (Lingis is one of the few writers I know who is able to pull off the difficult 2nd person). Did I tell the story of the funniest thing he ever read in class?
“You spend weeks preparing a grant proposal, explaining why you need to travel to
Leuven to visit the Husserl Archive, or to to consult with Gilles Deleuze. You get the grant. But since the Dean’s Committee is not there to show you off at the airport, you take off in the opposite direction and land in Paris .” Manila
It’s hard to see that working very well in the first person. Let’s try it:
“I spend weeks preparing a grant proposal, explaining why I need to travel to
Leuven to visit the Husserl Archive, or to to consult with Gilles Deleuze. I get the grant. But since the Dean’s Committee is not there to show me off at the airport, I take off in the opposite direction and land in Paris .” Manila
The effect is now totally different. It’s still a bit funny, but now we have a funny devious narrator rather than whatever it is that Lingis achieved in his second-person version by ascribing the illicit act to you the reader rather than to himself. I’d have to think more about why, exactly, the Lingis version works so well. (I raised the issue with him once and it clearly made him uncomfortable. He prefers to write by instinct rather than think too much about his own processes.)
*Poe’s great stories are all written in the first person. And in Lovecraft the same is true except for “The Dunwich Horror,” a story I really like, but which is somehow harder to believe in the third person. And Raymond Chandler, another of my favorite authors, is always in the first person. He started out trying to write The Long Goodbye in the third person, but it just didn’t work and he had to bring Marlowe back in as the first person narrator (which is the best thing about Chandmer anyway: the voice of Marlowe).
So I’d say it’s a personal decision, but I find a lot of flexibility and power in the first person. Increasingly I find something a bit “phony” about the disembodied, objective speaker, whether in fiction or in philosophy.
As for Circus Philosophicus, it’s all in the first person except for the ferris wheel chapter, which describes the wheel as an abstract possibility, though I think the rest of the book makes it retroactively clear that it’s I who was doing the talking there.