As per my imagination any thing can't impose force on the other by not giving even a touch(i,e action at a distance). So I thought there must be some physical existence of lines of force. Although virtual particles hypothesis has been proposed. Up to my knowledge virtual particles are just said to be disturbance (field) and not the one what we thought as materialistic "particle". Anyway I have heard about Faraday speaking about such similar view about there physical existence. But I do have a naive idea about it. I would greatly appreciate if any one can input something about your view on the physical existence of force lines. It would be more appreciable if any one can speak about Faraday's and Maxwell's approach on this concept.
I am providing Faraday's and Maxwell's basic views about the concept, so that anyone can speak about it.
FARADAY'S VIEWS: At first Faraday considered the physical reality of the lines of force as a possibility, yet several scholars agree that for Faraday their physical reality became a conviction. One scholar dates this change in the year 1838. Another scholar dates this final strengthening of his belief in 1852. Faraday experimentally studied lines of magnetic force and lines of electrostatic force, showing them not to fit action at a distance models. In 1852 Faraday wrote the paper "On the Physical Character of the Lines of Magnetic Force" which examined gravity, radiation, and electricity, and their possible relationships with the transmission medium, transmission propagation, and the receiving entity.
MAXWELL'S VIEW: Initially, Maxwell took an agnostic approach in his mathematization of Faraday's theories. This is seen in Maxwell's 1855 and 1856 papers: "On Faraday's Lines of Force" and "On Faraday's Electrotontic State". In the 1864 paper "A Dynamical Theory of the Electromagnetic Field" Maxwell gives scientific priority of the electromagnetic theory of light to Faraday and his 1846 paper "Thoughts on Ray Vibrations". Maxwell wrote: Faraday discovered that when a plane polarized ray traverses a transparent diamagnetic medium in the direction of the lines of magnetic force produced by magnets or currents in the neighborhood, the plane of polarization is caused to rotate. The conception of the propagation of transverse magnetic disturbances to the exclusion of normal ones is distinctly set forth by Professor Faraday in his "Thoughts on Ray Vibrations." The electromagnetic theory of light, as proposed by him, is the same in substance as that which I have begun to develop in this paper, except that in 1846 there were no data to calculate the velocity of propagation.
I hope anyone from quantum physics can speak about virtual particles.
Here is a opinion of Matt Strassler (click on this) about Virtual particles hypothesis