As opposed to punctuation

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Dear friends,

I have two questions about punctuation relating to the following sentence.

Writing about living philosophers – (, as opposed to the “mighty dead,”) – can be particularly challenging, since developments tend to unfold before our very eyes: debates come, take place, and disappear rather quickly, and there is always a “new” and “better” position that can make other positions seem less interesting.

1) Do I need comma, bracket or dash to separate as opposed to the "mighty dead"? I would like to avoid all three options if possible.
2) Can I replace "since" for "as" and likewise eliminate the comma there?

I look forward to your comments.
  • Uncle Jack

    Senior Member
    British English
    1. I think you need something. You might wish to avoid using a pair of commas because of the comma that follows, but a pair of dashes or a pair of brackets would be fine.
    2. You can use "as" if you like, but you cannot remove the comma. "As" is a conjunction here, but without the comma it will initially be read as a preposition.
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