On this site we introduce and discuss the idea of word-sensibility. It is not formally defended and posted for preliminary assessment only.  The basic idea is for machines to have the ability to learn to abstract the human experience of contextual expectation, building that abstraction up from the word-level, and in this way machines can make better sense of the things that people typically know. People experience the world and machines don’t. This is why commonsense is a challenge for machines. The goal is textual analysis to assess word sense by keying on human responsiveness. That is, the ability to act quickly and positively to situations in the world.

About Word-Sensibility

Word-Sensibility centers around ways to anchor the responsiveness of words in a system. The question is not just what is the sense of a word but more deeply, what affords a word sense different senses?

For instance, river bank and monetary bank can be disambiguated in the lyric by the rock band The Police below because of the word checks.

Don’t think me unkind / words are hard to find / they’re only cheques I’ve left unsigned / from the banks of chaos in my mind – The Police*

Still, what remains is another matter of disambiguation that is metaphorical in nature to which interactive experiences with the world are repurposed. No one really questions if words are really checks or if banks are really in the mind. Maybe the better question is, does it really matter? The answer is, it really doesn’t matter when it comes to making sense of things, not even when those things are about not making any sense at all. The Police lyrics metaphorically capture some deeply relevant dynamics about words, their value, accumulation, validation and, as in the song, meanings bankrupt or invalid. The wonderful irony in this verse is how nicely it illustrates how when we usually make sense of things, we do it in terms of other things.

  • “The locus of metaphor is not in language at all, but in the way we conceptualize one mental domain in terms of another.” (Lakoff, 1992)

The compositional analysis of the lyrics above pertains more to cognitive poetics and, although intrinsically related, won’t be our main focus. Still, it highlights an important characteristic of our goal, that is to model how our responses anchor our word senses and how our sense making abilities repurpose our responsive dynamics in different realms that define our many normal or various everyday relationships in the world. These form a place for our responses and our responses form a place for our words. That is to say, responses are enacted in contextual ecosystems. Consider for instance, home, work and bank, each its own environment and ecological system and although each develop and engage specific kinds of responsive dynamics, inevitably they influence each other such that, relational dynamics verge between contextual ecosystems proving sense making analogs. The goal is a lexical ontology layer of contextual ecosystems.

  • Word-Sensibility is about metaphoric relations, commonsense grounding and simulating the human ability to sense dynamic relations between signs. The aim is to help assess dynamic word relations in text including metaphoric and normative analysis of the type found in mythic stories or children stories such as, Frog and Toad. The project involves a wiki, ontology layers and API.

Generally, we mean the term sensibility as a responsiveness toward something. Specifically, we mean a responsiveness toward a topic, by which a unitization of other separate topics is cued, in which the unit effect is a capacitance to aptly elect the probable truth conditions for that topic. Responsive units match to words, sentences and other chunks of text.

About a  Word-Sensibility Model

The Quadranym Model of Word-Sensibility (Q): An Ecological Systems Perspective On Word-Level-Concepts & Contextual Unitizations – Non-Mental-Representation Representation Design Before Define Approach.

Sensibility is about our relationships to things and the responses that are generated. Consider that there are things we use and don’t use – drawn to or repelled by – make us excited or relaxed. Sensibility is a term often used to denote these kinds of responses. We suggest, that our responses are repurposed where the dynamic sense of them become part of our communicative nature and inform topical as well as contextual orientations. Theoretically, word-sensibility is not about different ways of reasoning but about different ways of coping. That is, coping reflects the social-dependent nature of the human species, a dependence that language represents. To put the matter in another way, in our view, the subject of commonsense requires a contrast between what is sensibility and what is rationality. The Q project aims to provide a model to intervene with the notion of sensibility. The aim is to present an anatomy for sensibility similar to the way formal logic presents an anatomy for rationality. The primary advantage of standardizing a model of word-sensibility is that experiential myths, or metaphorical mappings about experience may be characterized using universal themes in a domain general framework. Mind-mapping programs are a step in this direction but they often provide too many possibilities to focus simply and only on themes as topics or words as topics. In addition, while mind-map applications share some general conventions, none are universal. On the other hand, we will introduce a simple organizing construct called the quadranym  that is reasonably explained in minutes. It is basic to the ecological system representation that the model aims to provide for commonsense knowing and metaphorical thinking.

  • Quadranyms represent the smallest unit of context in the system. Although they are rendered to effectually deal with word sense they are scalable units able to span from word-topics to theme-topics. They are about virtual states of sensibility and represent – a responsiveness toward something turned contextual artifact i.e., dynamically actual and situationally potential.  

Another advantage to consider is its ability to enhance topical focus in knowledgebase activation. In order to improve results of contextual queries implausible references in the knowledgebase need to be isolated and systematically deconstructed. Patterns of error in a system may be recognized and communicated more easily by applying topical orientation analysis to show where a representation fails to make sense. The strength here is a simple and intuitive way to interface with a knowledgebase. Topical orientation is supplemented through simple human interfacing methods. Also, consider discrete systems with distinct topical orientations. Discrete systems work together to improve commonsense data. Topical interoperability is the ability to adopt or reject the topical orientations of other systems. Competitive performance comparisons advance schemes.

Theoretically, the dynamics between personal motivations and social constraints form word-sensibility units as a means to orient the values people share. See: The Principle of the Orientation of Interactivity

About the Theory

The Q is proposed as a method of commonsense representation albeit still in the developmental stages. There are many different kinds of issues and challenges in the areas of AI pertaining to the acquisition of commonsense. The project introduces and focuses on the idea of word-sensibility; how the responsiveness of words anchor in a system. The idea is not, or at least not primarily, about the intensions of word meaning, rather, it aims to abstract the habitual sense of being with our responses.  In theory, responses educe  experiential traces, when applied to the Q are called topical traces. The idea is that topical traces form scalable units of topical orientation. Units are like self replicating patterns that nest in hierarchical orders. The goal is a good representation of an agent’s responsiveness based on the occurrent order.


  • For instance, consider a chimpanzee who smashes small stones with a big rock. Maybe the act continues just for the dynamic sense of it, the impact,  stones fractured into fragments. Now consider the act repurposed to crack nuts. A new motivation, a new system of responsiveness is organized.
  • At its core, word-sensibility is that which prescribes internal and external distinctions to contextual units. That is, it aims to model an agents internal responses to external occurrences at different nested levels in the system.
  • Word-sensibility is proposed as a hypothetical construct pertaining to affective and conative components. It is about habits, emotions, valence and volition reinforced by social and environmental systems.

General areas of research: Philosophy of Mind, Cognitive Science and Model-Based Reasoning. Pivotal interests include: Enactivism, Embodied Cognition, Radical Embodied Cognition, Ecological Psychology, Cognitive Linguistics, Embodied Language Processing, Cognitive Poetics, Process Philosophy, Intersubjectivity, Phenomenology, Multi-Term Systematics, Semiotics and Umwelt. The goal is an ecological systems perspective on commonsense knowing for computational lexicography & ontology for AI.

About Our Goals

Below, are a list of objectives in progress:

  1. To build an ontology API as a lexical layer of word-sensibility units (i.e., responsive orientations).
  2. To represent commonsense grounding and metaphoric structure.
  3. To make predictions about the world by repurposing interactive dynamics with the world.
  4. To develop textual analysis to assess word sense by keying on contextual responsiveness.

The central discipline to all the objectives above is anthroposemiotics, specifically how people develop orientations on which they share focus, and how these orientations can be virtually extended over to machines.


About the Term Sensibility

We choose the term sensibility as a general reference to the processes outlined on this site. We like the term sensibility because it means a responsiveness toward something and because on the general matter of commonsense, reason and sensibility are interesting to us in contrast. These days the term sensibility normally refers to subjective preferences. For instance, one might assert, “Scifi movies don’t really suit my sensibility.” In the urban dictionary, sensibility is one’s own ability to react/respond to the artistic style of another. In The Word-Sensibility approach, sensibility is about organismic behaviors enacted socially on layers of sense making dynamics such as, coping, skills, valence, habits, compulsions, synergies and impulse. Word-sensibility is about responding to information. The term is used to account for the sensation of thoughts, correct or incorrect. Social constraints, inhibitors and debugging methods help progress normativity.

Word-Sensibility: Full Introduction Slideshow

Common sense is the collection of prejudices acquired by age eighteen. ― Albert Einstein

About Developing the Model: For Developers

System Page

This page is edited for developers. Focus is on the potentials for application.

About Word-Sensibility: Theory & Approach

Theory Page:

These articles on the theory are coming along. More research is necessary.

About Quadranyms: Full Introductory Draft

Model Page

Q: A method to analyze and cluster words – an ontological alignment system to represent dynamic word relations in unitsscripts and layers.

 Programing Playground, Source Code & Knowledgebase:



About Us

Early on the projects cocreator and I worked together producing music. It wasn’t long before we realized we shared an interest on the subject of sensibility. Of course, the subject is omnipresent in a creative venture like music production. His master’s thesis was on an Music Arranger Model. Our particular view of sensibility began from a musical place but was soon seen as an abstraction able to span a variety of expressions and different ways of thinking. Commonsense is a fascinating problem in AI. We believe that a word-sensibility model can be a useful if not a powerful approach to commonsense knowing. There are still plenty of questions and challenges surrounding the project. I am an independent researcher and responsible for the sites content. More research is necessary. Feel free to point out any problems or offer any suggestions. We appreciate your interest and input.

Contact us to comment or participate.

We invite interested developers to partner with us.

Thank You

Dane Scalise

The Quadranym Model Of Sensibility © and The Polynym Thesaurus © was conceived and developed by:

  • Dane Scalise: Researcher
  • G. Scott Vercoe: MIT Media Lab


  • Carlton Wilkinson:
  • Rutgers University-New Brunswick   1990 – 1995
    Ph.D., Music Composition.
  • Managing Editor, Brunswick Review, New York

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