I think what you are referring to is Plato's "forms". The objects we encounter merely participate in the -ness of the perfect forms which reside in what is playfully (or pejoratively) called Plato's Heaven. So my chair is a chair because it has the property "chairness", that is, there is a perfect chair that resides outside of our perceptual reality that lends its form to my chair. It is a bit more detailed but that is the gist. Aristotle was right to abandon it.
And as for the comments below about the distinction between philosophy and physics, both Descartes and Newton were considered philosophers. Most contemporary philosophy, though, relies heavily on the natural sciences to support or confute philosophical theories. Philosophy of mind works with cognitive science, philosophy of language with various natural sciences, and metaphysics with chemistry, physics, mathematics, etc... I prefer Wittgenstein's definition of philosophy from the Tractatus. He calls philosophy an "activity" that is meant to sharpen and hone the critical thinking necessary in scientific inquiry. There are many cases where philosophical theories have been supported by scientific investigation just as many have been thrown out because certain scientific hypotheses do not support them.