(Titlw in Polish - 'Jaka epistema? O metodzie, kryteriach i przeslankach filozoficznych krytyki literackiej wielkiej 'trójcy powiesciopisarzy' okresu pozytywizmu'). The article is devoted to a reconstruction of the literary critical method as seen in the Polish Positivism writers. An attempt was made to characterize the method from the point of view of its relationships with the philosophical context of the epoch. Analyzing the critical papers by Prus, Orzeszkowa, Sienkiewicz, and others, the author tries to reconstruct the epistemic basis which shaped the positivist literary critical discourse. The discourse in question reveals certain assumptions (centered around the category of 'realism' and its connotations) of metaphysical and epistemological nature, and also referred to a number of procedures used in natural sciences. Positivists called for e.g. application of an objective method of literary text analysis; they also explained phenomena with the help of casual connections, tried to search for general laws, attempted to asses the reality present in a literary work through the prism of its links with the truth of reality verified in intersubjective experience, and made up a specific mode of subjectivity.