When is a Toy Not a Toy?

When it comes under onerous safety legislation, it seems. For those who believe that taxonomies describe the nature of things in themselves, and that taxonomies of things are the easiest things to create because of their observable, objective characteristics, this story from the New York Times illustrates how political shifts in the human system can drive previously uncontroversial categories and criteria for classification into headlong disarray. New safety legislation enacted in the USA places such an onerous burden on toymakers that previous classification criteria such as size, packaging, intended use or ultimate use are all up for grabs as toymakers redefine who uses their products and why.

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