4 Resemblance

This ad is making an argument. What is it?

Cardboard ketchup ad

Put the ad's argument in your own words.

The argument is basically, "Without Heinz ketchup, steak and chips taste like cardboard."

This is a resemblance argument.

Resemblance arguments are like definitional arguments except instead of being about what something is they are about what something is like.

This ad also makes a resemblance argument: poverty is like a life sentence.

(It also makes a proposal argument: that poverty shouldn't be a life sentence and you should donate to the Salvation Army.)

Poverty is not a life sentence

How might poverty resemble a life sentence?

Like definitional arguments, resemblance arguments affect how we treat things and people, so they can be hotly contested.

Resemblance arguments use criteria & match reasoning, but the criteria are usually about similar features.

People will argue about whether or not features really match, and whether or not the matching features are actually important.

For example, this writer believes it's important that students wear school uniforms, but he thinks uniforms and standards are declining:

For a great number of schools, uniform standards have been so eroded (often through parent/student pressure) that simply wearing a shirt – no, not even a shirt – a top of any colour, similar to that of the uniform, is all that is required.

There aren’t many parts to a school uniform and if maintaining adherence to key elements of the uniform is lost, what remains is a sad, almost insulting misrepresentation of the original.

He tries to convince students, parents and schools to value school uniforms more highly by comparing them to sports and military uniforms, which the wearers want to wear with pride because they create shared meaning and identity:

Uniforms have for centuries represented belonging, values, traditions and expected codes of conduct.  A uniform is a symbol of something beyond the material, stitch work and colours from which it is assembled.

If sports clubs are merely places where people play their chosen sport, then they don’t need a uniform.  Opposing teams can simply be identified by playing in universally accepted contrasting colours. 

But try telling a sports team that their uniform is merely a means to avoid playing naked and with no more meaning than beneficial contrast and I dare say you’re in for an argument.

Coaches will remind players of club values and the meaning behind the guernsey before sending them off to pit both skills and strength of character against the opposition.

Telling a soldier that his uniform serves no purpose other than separating him from the enemy would soon have you offside and appearing somewhat like the enemy.

Are you persuaded by the argument that, like sports or military uniforms, school uniforms create shared meaning & purpose? Why or why not?