I'm looking for a term to describe a person who thinks that everyone is driven by personal interest rather than by philanthropy or charity; someone who is pessimistic about people's intent (whether they're honest or the opposite).

closed as off-topic by Edwin Ashworth, Helmar, MetaEd Oct 19 '16 at 14:26

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Questions on choosing an ideal word or phrase must include information on how it will be used in order to be answered. For help writing a good word or phrase request, see: About single word requests" – MetaEd
If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.


Cynic: "a person who believes that people are motivated purely by self-interest rather than acting for honorable or unselfish reasons" (here).

The adjective is cynical.

Also, psychological egoist: someone who believes "that humans are always motivated by self-interest, even in what seem to be acts of altruism" (here).

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.