BW: Correct, but ask yourself what that concept must be abstracted FROM, in order to be valid. Reality. In other words, it isn't a random "idealization" of reality, but rather a set of attributes *extracted* from reality that allow us to talk about Borchardt Things and Westmiller Things. Are some attributes "ignored"? Of course. It would be foolish to say that a "horse" is an object with mass, or even to say that it is a living thing ... since every Borchardt Thing has mass and a dead horse is just one type of horse. A proper definition doesn't alter reality, it just categorizes essential attributes.
TSW: "Mental activity itself involves elements of both relativism and absolutism."
BW: In which case, you either have to be opposed to mental activity, or abandon your characterizations of relativism or absolutism as incompatible opposites. Some Westmiller Things are relative, others are absolute. It seems that you're committing all Borchardt Things to unthinkable solipsism.
motionless with respect to other things.
TSW: "Obviously, no agreement can be reached about similarity-dissimilarity unless the observers agree to compare the same characteristics. Until this is accomplished for a finite set of measurable characteristics, a classification or comparison must remain subjective rather than objective."
BW: Correct, but missing the central point. It isn't that the observers agree, but that the essential characteristics being considered are consistent with reality. That is what makes a comparison "objective": any person can *identify* a horse (or swan), irrespective of its color or any other incidental characteristics. A rose by any other name...
TSW: "An analogy, like an assumption, must lead to understanding and accurate prediction or it will be discarded as useless."
BW: Your discussion of analogies is good, but it stretches the meaning. An analogy is a reference to the in-kind Westmiller Things about objects, not a reference to the Borchardt Things themselves. To analogize human walking to horse walking is a statement about the characteristics of walking, not about the definition of humans or horses.
TSW: "Humans, for example, were not considered similar to other animals until the scientific and commercial advantages of the analogy outweighed the religious objections."
BW: I don't think that's true. Nearly all mystics considered humans to be animals ... with a soul. Many religious doctrines even assert that many or all "lower animals" also have souls. In ancient Hebrew, the word for "spirit" and "breath" are identical; both are invisible and one is intimately connected with living things (including plants). So, a cynical reading of the bible considers "soul" nothing more than a typographical error.
Next: Relativism (Part 3 of 3)