Law of Requisite Parsimony

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The Law of Requisite Parsimony is of the seven laws of the Science of Dialogic Design.

On the meaning of the terms

Requisite is a thing that is necessary for the achievement of a specified end. Something that is indispensable; a requirement. For example Algebra is a requisite for taking calculus. Parsimony is the quality of being very unwilling to spend money. In the context of discussing complex problems, the meaning is about being careful not to overload the cognitive abilities of the participants. The Greek term that best fits the meaning is φειδώ (Example: Η κατανάλωση νερού και ρεύματος, πρέπει να γίνεται με φειδώ).


The law is attributed to Miller [1] who published a paper in 1956 in which he documented for the first time one of the greatest bottlenecks of the human brain.

Later, in 1988 Warfield [2] applied this notion in the context of groups of people discussing a complex problem.

bounded rationality Bounded rationality is the idea that in decision-making, rationality of individuals is limited by the information they have, the cognitive limitations of their minds, and the finite amount of time they have to make a decision.


  1. Miller, G. A. 1956. The magical number seven, plus or minus two: Some limitations on our capacity for processing information. Psychology Review 63:81–97.
  2. Warfield, J. N. 1988. The magical number three, plus or minus zero. Cybernetics and Systems 19:339–358