In contrast to [the] historical path toward an understanding of the concept of world, I attempted in Being and Time to provide a preliminary characterization of the phenomenon of world by interpreting the way in which we at first and for the most part move about in our everyday world. There I took my departure from what lies to hand in the everyday realm, from those things that we use and pursue, indeed in such a way that we do not really know of the peculiar character proper to such activity at all, and when we do try to describe it we immediately misinterpret it by applying concepts and questions that have their source elsewhere. That which is so close and intelligible to us in our everyday dealings is actually and fundamentally remote and unintelligible to us. In and through this initial characterization of the phenomenon of world the task is to press on and point out the phenomenon of world as a problem. It never occurred to me, however, to try and claim or prove with this interpretation that the essence of man consists in the fact that he knows how to handle knives and forks or use the tram. (Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics, p. 177)
Some would say that this line is definitive textual evidence against a pragmatist reading of Heidegger. However, this would be a mistake insofar as pragmatism is also not committed to claiming that the essence of man consists in the usage of knives and forks. If anything, pragmatism has perhaps the best explanatory gloss on both pedestrian equipment use and the so-called “higher” faculties afforded by language and culture.