The question of the cause of inertial reaction forces and the validity of “Mach's principle” are investigated. A recent claim that the cause of inertial reaction forces can be attributed to an interaction of the electrical charge of elementary particles with the hypothetical quantum mechanical “zero-point” fluctuation electromagnetic field is shown to be untenable. It fails to correspond to reality because the coupling of electric charge to the electromagnetic field cannot be made to mimic plausibly the universal coupling of gravity and inertia to the stress-energy-momentum (i.e., matter) tensor. The gravitational explanation of the origin of inertial forces is then briefly laid out, and various important features of it explored in the last half-century are addressed.
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Woodward, J.F., Mahood, T. What is the Cause of Inertia?. Foundations of Physics 29, 899–930 (1999). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1018821328482