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Yes it is true that taxonomy limits the end user, however most subject matter experts can provide a useful baseline. In case of scientific content, the categorization process is well thought and debated. For example. we would not want anyone to change the taxonomy for animal kingdom. To your point, most product classification has a subjective element to the classification process and every user may have a taxonomy that suits them best. This is where tagging (folksonomy/social-tagging) is useful and can be used to assist the official taxonomy. On, I always have problems using their taxonomy, they divide printers in two groups for office-use and for home-use, we all know that some printers could fall in either category. Unfortunately, they don't cross-list products in both categories. In such a case tagging which provides a more mesh type navigation is a better approach. Amazon does a good job by providing both a taxonomy and allowing users to tag items as well. Another soultion is to have multiple taxonomies, each catering to a specific need. At, all products are categorized in three taxonomies depending upon the usage.
This picture is awesome - three Prime Ministers in one shot, of course at the time of shooting Mr. Roy did not know that.