Fictitious Force

A fictitious force is a force that appears to act on every object when the frame of reference is accelerating. The term “fictitious” does not mean the force does not exist, but it is not an actual force that arises from an interaction between objects.

Flat-Earthers noticed gravity is considered a fictitious force and use the fact to “prove” gravity does not exist. In reality, we can feel a fictitious force. It is merely a term we use for forces that arise due to an accelerating frame of reference.

Fictitious forces have this defining characteristic: every single object is affected by the same amount of acceleration, without regard to their masses. Then, the magnitude of the force is determined from the masses of each object. Because all objects are accelerated by the same amount, a more massive object gets a larger fictitious force.

On the other hand, real forces arise from an interaction between objects. The acceleration an object gets is determined by the magnitude of the force and the mass of the object.

Fictitious forces include centrifugal force, Coriolis force, gravitational force, and any other forces that arise from an accelerated frame of reference.

Using the term “fictitious” as “proof” that the fictitious forces are literally fictitious is the fallacy of appeal to definition.