In uncovering the hidden history of Sigmund Freud’s Mystic Writing-Pad, this essay seeks to illuminate not only why so many have assumed that it was “merely a child’s toy” (and how we might read it differently knowing that it was not) but also why Jacques Derrida devoted so much energy to deconstructing Freud’s fascination with it as an analogy for consciousness. We may even discover something—in ways that are perhaps more than mere analogy—about how our more contemporary devices generate modes of extended cognition as well.

You do not currently have access to this content.