My dad's an aeronautical engineer. The other day, I visited a pub with him. A friend of his introduced him to someone who told us he was an electrical engineer. My dad replied with what I presume was an allusion to an engineering joke, "Electrical eh. Do you guys even believe in electrons?" The electrical engineer replied with what I presume is the standard reply to that question, "They tell me they exist, but I've never seen one before."
After, I asked him what he meant by "believe in electrons", and he told me that we can't, (or, at least, couldn't when he was at school), look at electrons (which, makes sense), so we've had to infer their existence from observed effects.
I think it's true that, according to an accurate simplified account of physics, for every effect, an instance of some kind of force caused it. (Correct me if I'm wrong.)
If that's true; and if, from the effects of electrons, we inferred every fact we know about electrons, then every fact we know about electrons is a fact we know about the forces of electrons.
However, seeing (and, at bottom, sensing, by any means) consists in an effect caused by a force.
Considering that, it seems to me that we could conceive of any kind of matter, from quarks to bricks, as a set of forces that influence some particular points in space at particular times.
Is there any reason that we can't, or shouldn't, think of matter this way?