“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.

— Theodore Roosevelt 

        To enhance machine awareness of commonsense concepts, the           idea is to analyze the words of a text utilizing reference frames.

About the Project

On this site we introduce and discuss the idea of word-sensibility. The basic idea is about abstracting 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 — referring to the ability to act quickly and positively to situations in the world. It’s about the agent in its environment. We are in the exploratory stage and look forward to any feedback.  Contact

About Word-Sensibility

Word-Sensibility centers around ways to anchor the responsiveness of words in a semantic resource 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 (below) by the rock band The Police 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 relationality that is metaphorical in nature to which our 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)

This highlights an important characteristic of our goal. That is, to model how responsiveness anchors our word senses — and how our sense making abilities repurpose our responsive dynamic-sense that defines our various interactions in our discrete environments in the world. These form a place for our responses and our responses form a place for our words. That is to say, responses virtually emerge in contextual ecosystems. Consider for instance, home, work and bank, each its own environment and contextual ecology 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 dynamic sense orientation and contextual ecosystems.

About the Theoretical Approach

The Quadranym Model of Word-Sensibility (Q): An Ecological System Perspective On Word-Level Concepts and Dynamical Contexts — Non-Mental-Representation Representation — Action Based Theory of Context.

  • Word-Sensibility is not defended and presented for preliminary assessment.

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.

  • How can machines be more aware of the ways people respond to situations?  

GOAL: Improve commonsense prediction with units of responsiveness.

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.

  • The topic eat becomes an added layer (unit) to orient the topic smash.
  • Reference frames quickly nest between general and relevant viewpoints.

A unit can be a nested layer or linked with other units to form scripts. Consider the script links below: situational rock becomes dynamical rock.

The rock of the environment becomes a tool of the organism to crack the shell of the nut.
  1. An agent’s performance in the world is routine given the right conditions. 
  2. The word-sensibility approach aims to provide models for these conditions.

Reference Frame (i.e., A Responsive Unit of Context)

Reference frame model: Topic eat: [sate, starve, food, hungry]. Mode Measures: desire, need.

At its core, word-sensibility is that which prescribes internal and external distinctions to contextual units. That is, it aims to model an agent’s internal responses to external occurrences at nested levels of its responsive system.

  • Quadranyms represent the primary units of context in the system. Although they are rendered to essentially 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 kind of contextual artifact i.e., a responsiveness toward something that is dynamically actual and situationally potential.  

Word-Sensibility is a theoretical semiotic approach where the word-topic (head word) is the signifier and the quadranym (body) orients the signified.

  • In this approach, an orientation is required for a truth condition to be given.

Generally speaking, 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.

  • 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/acquisition database and API.

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

  • Word-sensibility is a heuristic system. It is primary to deliberative systems.
  • The word-sensibility system is more like a comparator than a computer.

Anthroposemiotics is a key source of inspiration – it’s about how people share their viewpoints. How can this ability be virtually extended to machines?

  • Word-sensibility is proposed as a hypothetical construct pertaining mostly to affective and conative components. It’s about a social exchange of emotion, valence and volition reinforced by one’s 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, Cybernetics, Systematics, Semiotics and Umwelt. The goal is an ecological systems perspective on commonsense awareness for computational lexicography & ontology for AI.

About The Dynamical Context

Unpacking words with word-sensibility analysis begins with a distinction in the contextualizing of word sense (between interpersonal and intrapersonal).

Interpersonal-Situatedness: A Situational Context is the communicative ability to present or understand the objective circumstances in which an event occurs and will sometimes include the appropriate behaviors associated with it.

Intrapersonal-Responsiveness:  We introduce the idea of a Dynamical Context which is something different and can be generally described as follows:

  • Dynamical Context: a situation resonates with a preexisting psychology, a predetermined expectation for behavior within that situation, and produces a synergy response, reshaped for the moment.
  • Dynamical Contextual Systems: characterized by the potential for multiple dynamic areas and interactions between them.

Theoretically, dynamical contexts are transferable from one situation or behavior to another to help provide easy orientation for communication.

  • The dynamical context virtually couples with the situational context.

The dynamical context represents virtual sense-units of homeostasis.

  • A reference frame (unit) finds stasis by adjusting its coordinates on the x-y axes to coordinates that its zeropoint can most effectively anchor for.

Metaphoric responsiveness requires overlaying domains with each other. In Q models, domains are given conditions to constrain their information.

Metaphoric representation concerns connectivity between the systems.

  • The situational context system is about source and target domains.
  • The dynamical context system is about source and target conditions.

“A conceptual domain (wikipedia) can be any mental organization of human experience.” We can think of one domain (target) in terms of another domain (source) e.g., words (target) are checks (source). A source and target condition refers to what is being used to anchor a response i.e., source condition of checks is value, target condition of checks is validity. That is to say, the zero-point condition of a check is value, the truth condition of its value is validity. Words and checks are sharing source and target conditions.

  • Word = Check: source = value target = validity.
  • Modes of measure: true or false (measures the validity of value).

(note: a source condition is subjective. A target condition is objective)

Word-Sensibility Responsiveness; is about attending the experience of attending interacting in the world rather then attending the world directly. 

Above Slideshow From: The Home Page

About the Motivation for the Project

Consider that there are things we use and don’t use – drawn to or repelled by – make us excited or relaxed. Sensibility is about our relationships to things and the responses that are generated. Sensibility is a term often used to express one’s normative responses. We suggest, that our responses are repurposed where the dynamic sense of our interactions become part of our communicative social-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.

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. Acquisition programs are supplemented with 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.

About the Term Sensibility

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

The term word-sensibility is used 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 provides a useful distinction for us.

In the word-sensibility approach…

  • Sensibility is a responsiveness deriving from integrated sensory information.
  • The aim of Reason is to intervene in this process with the task to seek a truth.

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; one’s responses reenacted socially on layers of sense making dynamics such as, perceptions, intentions, interactions, skills, habits, valence and synergies.

(Note: Word-Sensibility refers to generating the coherent bias necessary between communicators to anticipate what the following conditions are supposed to be.) 

About Our Goals

Below, are a list of objectives in progress:

  1. To continue to improve the project database/API (acquisition).
  2. To model – repurposing interactive dynamics with the world.
  3. To model – commonsense grounding and metaphoric structure.
  4. To model – sharing viewpoints and creating normative responses.
  5. To develop a textual analysis that keys on human responsiveness.
  6. To help provide new perspectives for Artificial General Intelligence.  

A Quick Illustrated Overview.

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In a Nutshell

The Full Overview

Word-Sensibility: The Model Overview
Sections of the Overview


  1. The Specificity of a Word’s Dynamicity
  2. The Organism: Responding & Predicting
  3. The Machine: An Ecological System Perspective
  4. Orientation: Affordance, Invitation & Metaphor
  5. Reference Frames: Viewpoints & Disambiguation
  6. Responsiveness: The Motivated Dynamical Context
  7. Intersubjectivity: Orientation & Conative Exchanges
  8. The Word-Topic Database:  Wiki & Acquisition
  9. The Model Overview in a Nutshell
  10. Final Thoughts & Summary
  11. The General Database: Open Source Language Project

Quadranym Walk Through.

 Source Code & Wiki Prototype (API):



Open Source Semantic Resource Project For Natural Language Processing

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 a 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 Word-Sensibility © and The Polynym Database © was conceived and developed by:

  • Dane Scalise: Researcher
  • G. Scott Vercoe: MS-Media Arts and Sciences MIT (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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*The Police – Songwriters: Gordon Sumner De Do Do Do De Da Da Da lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

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