I am trying to measure the causal coherence of text documents using NLP techniques to test a hypothesis (as far as I understand, there are different types of coherence in text but I am focusing on causal coherence, specifically.)

I understand the meaning of causality and causal relation. But I am trying to figure out what the exact definition of causal coherence is? I see in the literature that people, like Mulder, G. (2008), use "causal coherence relation" but I am not sure if I understand the different between causal coherence and causal coherence relation.

My approach for measuring the causal coherence for now is mainly based on extracting the causal relations (only explicit relations) in a sentence or two adjacent sentences. I basically mark any sentence(s) in which I could find a causal relation as causally coherent. But I am wondering if it is a correct definition for causal coherence?

1 Answer 1


For "causal coherence relation" check the abstract of "Understanding Causal Coherence Relations" Mulder, G. (2008) LOT, volume 172 (Dissertation). That's one web search away.

As far as I understand it the term means relations explicated e.g. by logical connectives. This goes deeper when the book goes on about such relativizors (?) on different levels of discourse. It seems an interesting topic so thanks for mentioning it. My first impulse is to see an equivalence to the bare causal relations in it.

A text is causally coherent, I guess, if it's fully relatable. That depends on your priors, not just on the text itself.

The difference is subjectivity and objectivity - a text is objectively wrong, if the coherence relations are contradictory, otherwise the subjective semantics of terms comes into question - including that of the connectives.

extracting the causal relations (only explicit relations)

I would see a simple NP as explicit relation, not the least because "(A and B) or not A" is called "implication" (with some confusion around logic- and material-implication).

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    Thanks for your response. I had already read Mulder's thesis which is indeed insightful. It is after reading the thesis that I still have these questions. As far as I understand, by "causal coherence relation," Mulder basically means the causal relations. Even though he beautifully talks about these relations, but still I cannot find a clear definition for causal coherence. By "explicit" relations I mean those which are indicated by a relator/marker like "because" or "since"
    – Pedram
    Commented Aug 23, 2018 at 4:12

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