What are the contributions of inheritance in software engineering using the Java language?
The Java programming language was object-oriented from the time it was conceived, so it doesn't suffer from the problems you might encounter with some languages that tried to retrofit OOP features after-the-fact. In the area of inheritance, Java provides most of the standard features of an object-oriented language including:
The ability to extend a base class private, protected, and public scoped classes, fields, and methods
Method overloading and overriding
Abstract base classes and methods
Some aberrations that you do not find with a lot of other object-oriented languages are:
The concept of package scope
Multiple inheritance is restricted to interfaces