Obviously you can flirt with non-humans - just consider elves. Maybe the trickier case is non-persons, or non-agents?
I'm with Daniel - one can flirt with non-humans. Proof awaits you at the student union Bop any random friday night.
"Philosophy of Flirting" could be a very promising nascent field of philosophical investigation that help conceptually to inform animal behaviour studies in relation to sex and communication.
"Flirting with idealism" "Flirting with your employer" "Flirting with poverty". I think the sense is to be had from the idea of a lack of intention to commit. Your counterexample of long term relationships starting with flirtation doesn't work because during the flirtation the long term relationship wasn't intended, but was a defacto consequence. If two people intended to get married and knew this fact, then they wouldn't be flirting, they would only be playing at flirting, but actually engaging with each other. In the same way if someone intended to write an opus on idealism and to only believe beliefs consistent with idealism, then they wouldn't be flirting with idealism, they would be engaging with idealism. You could flirt with poverty by living without money or possessions for a while but retaining the option of getting your money back. If you gave all your money away and moved to a country where your experience wouldn't be sellable, you wouldn't be flirting with poverty, but you would be ebgaging with poverty in a committed way. I think the primary meaning is with sex. Two people are sexually flirting so long as they are leaving it open whether or not they will have sex. The moment they start having sex they are no longer flirting, since there is no way back.
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