This is a sort of soft-question to which I can't find any satisfactory answer. At heart, I feel I have some need for a robust and well-motivated formalism in mathematics, and my work in geometry requires me to learn some analysis, and so I am confronted with the task of understanding weak solutions to PDEs. I have no problems understanding the formal definitions, and I don't need any clarification as to how they work or why they produce generalized solutions. What I don't understand is why I should "believe" in these guys, other than that they are a convenience.
Another way of trying to attack the issue I feel is that I don't see any reason to invent weak solutions, other than a a sort of (and I'm dreadfully sorry if this is offensive to any analysts) mathematical laziness. So what if classical solutions don't exist? My tongue-in-cheek instinct is just to say that that is the price one has to pay for working with bad objects! In other words, I do not find the justification of, "well, it makes it possible to find solutions" a very convincing one.
A justification I might accept, is if there was a good mathematical reason for us to a priori expect there to be solutions, and for some reason, they could not be found in classical function spaces like $C^k(\Omega)$, and so we had to look at various enlargements in order to find solutions. If this is the case, what is the heuristic argument that tells me whether or not I should expect a PDE (subject to whatever conditions you want in order to make your argument clear) to have solutions, and what function space(s) are appropriate to look at to actually find these solutions?
Another justification that I would accept is if there was some good analytic reason to discard the classical notion of differentiability all together. Perhaps the correct thing to do is to just think of weak derivatives as simply the 'correct' notion of differentiability in the first place. My instinct is to say that maybe weak solutions are a sort of 'almost-everywhere' type generalization of differentiability, similar to the Lebesgue integral being a replacement for the Riemann integral which is more adept at dealing with phenomena only occurring in sets of measure $0$.
Or maybe both of these hunches are just completely wrong. I am basically brand new to these ideas, and wrestling with my skepticism about these ideas. So can somebody make me a believer?
Worth noting is that there is already a question on this site here, but the answer in this link is essentially that there exist a bunch of nice theorems if you do this, or that physically we don't care very much about what happens pointwise, only in terms of integrals over small regions. It should be clear why I don't like the first reason, and the second reason I may accept if it could be turned into something that looks like my proposed justification #2 - if integrals over small regions of derivatives are the 'right' mathematical formalism for PDEs. I just don't understand how to make that leap. In other words, I would like a reason to find weak solutions interesting for their own sake.